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April 22, 2015

Dine Out and Win


Have you made reservations for Dining Out for Life on Thursday? It couldn't be any easier for you to make an impact in the lives of children and adults who are nutritionally at-risk due to critical illness.

As a thank you, you could WIN BIG! On Thursday, four lucky diners will be randomly selected to win one of these amazing prizes. 

 Unleash your inner foodie and get cooking with a Whole Foods Market Foodie™ specialty basket and $500 gift card.
 Sip on a signed bottle of Rock Creek White Whiskey & District Made Vodka from One Eight Distilling.
 Watch the Nationals take on the Rays, with 4 tickets, 5 rows behind first base, and parking.
  Fly away with a $500 American Airlines gift card.

And, by filling out an envelope that evening, you could win a $1,000 American Airlines gift card. 

Don't wait! Find a restaurant and make a reservation through OpenTable so you can participate in our "Dine Out and Win" prize giveaway!

April 21, 2015

Queen Force One Schedule for Dining Out for Life

Drum roll please....the Queen Force One Dining Out For Life schedule is complete. #DineOutDC. Make your reservations today for 4/23 at!

6:30 PM
Dino’s Grotto (1914 9th Street Northwest) 
Beau Thai – Shaw (1550 7th Street Northwest) 

7:15 PM
Perry’s Restaurant (1811 Columbia Rd NW) 
Mintwood Place (1813 Columbia Rd NW) 

8:00 PM
Duplex Diner (2004 18th St NW) 
L’Enfant CafĂ© (2000 18th St NW) 

8:45 PM
La Tomate (1701 Connecticut Ave NW) 
Station Kitchen and Cocktails (2015 Massachusetts Ave NW) 

9:15 PM
Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse (1609 17th St NW) 
Hank’s Oyster Bar DC (1624 Q St NW) 

9:45 PM
Commissary (1443 P St NW) 
Logan Tavern (1423 P St NW) 

10:15 PM
Ristorante Posto (1515 14th St NW) 
Pearl Dive Oyster Bar (1612 14th St NW)

April 8, 2015

Gifts from the Heart: Spirit of Giving Inspires Supporters Linda and David Purcell

“I’ll never forget them. I still drive by their houses and say, ‘There is Leroy’s house and that is Mila’s.’ You don’t forget people like that.”

This memory of delivering meals is part of what drives volunteers and donors, Linda and David Purcell.

Linda and David were first introduced to Food & Friends in 1996 when they were at brunch with some friends and saw hundreds of bikes passing. They later learned the bikers were riding as part of the first DC to Philly AIDSRide. Inspired by their commitment, for the next three years Linda volunteered for the AIDSRide while David rode in two of them.

Like so many others, Linda and David have been personally affected by HIV and AIDS. They had a friend who passed away from AIDS and they currently know people who are battling the disease. Their involvement with Food & Friends stems from their appreciation for the services we provide and their understanding of how necessary they are.

“Cancer and AIDS are very powerful diseases. Just getting something to eat is important. People really need this service and it really makes a difference in their lives.”

After volunteering with the AIDSRides, Linda felt compelled to continue her involvement with Food & Friends. She started delivering meals and, in 2006, both Linda and David started volunteering every Thursday in the kitchen. They’ve been regulars ever since.

The satisfaction of knowing she is helping someone is what makes the volunteering so worth it for Linda. Additionally, she feels it is a challenging yet life-enriching experience.

“After I volunteer, I’m tired as heck, but you feel like you’ve had fun, that you were appreciated and you’re surrounded by people who enjoy what they are doing,” says Linda. “You feel inspired. You always know what you are doing it for."

David and Linda Purcell have been supporting Food & Friends since 1996.
Linda and David recognize the link between food, nutrition and health. In fact, their interest to support grew as their involvement grew, and now we are proud to call them volunteers and donors.

Linda says she likes supporting Food & Friends because she knows we are a good steward of their funds and that her contribution will be put to good use.

“You want the money to go to the right place. We don’t give to any organization that does not have at least a three star rating with Charity Navigator,” says Linda. “We’ve been impressed with Food & Friends since we first got involved. It’s a great place to donate because it’s going to go far and it’s just managed so well.”

Linda points out that illness will always exist and so will the need for the unique services Food & Friends provides. To ensure Food & Friends will be a vital community resource in the future, they joined our Legacy Society and have included Food & Friends in their will.

“Financial support will always be needed. Food & Friends is an organization that keeps getting better and better. Food & Friends is a timeless and sustainable organization to support. It’s great to be part of that.”

Linda and David’s passion, commitment and friendship exemplify the spirit of Food & Friends. We cannot thank them enough for the impact they've made on thousands of our neighbors facing critical illnesses.

What motivates you? What can you do to make a difference? Donate to Food & Friends.

Dine Out on April 23rd: Take a Stand by Sitting Down and Enjoying a Meal
No one is immune from illness and no one is immune from hunger. Nowhere is that more evident than in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Nobody should have to choose between buying food and medication. You can help make this decision easier for hundreds of people in our local community.

Simply by dining out on April 23rd, you can support children and adults fighting critical illnesses by raising funds for our home-delivered nutrition services. More than 90 restaurants are participating – each donating 25-100% of your bill to Food & Friends.

Don’t wait until April 23rd! Here are 3 ways you can get ready!

MAKE A RESERVATION. Restaurants are filling up quickly so call to reserve your seat! OpenTable makes it easy for you to book at a number of participating restaurants.

JOIN OUR THUNDERCLAP! Sign up and a message inviting people to dine out will automatically post on your social media accounts on April 22nd. 

DONATE. Make a gift to support our work. Everyone who donates will be entered to win a $1,000 US Airways Gift Card!

Dining Out for Life® is an easy way to make a difference. All you have to do is exactly what you do many other nights of the week – go out to a restaurant with friends and family. The cost isn’t any higher and it gives you an excuse to order that extra piece of dessert.

March 26, 2015

Thank You Bank of America!

Bank of America Charitable Foundation has awarded $25,000 to Food & Friends to address the urgent hunger and nutritional needs of those in the community living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses. The grant will support our Freshly-Prepared Meals and Groceries-to-Go Programs that home-deliver specialized and nutritious meals to the critically ill in the DC Metro Region. Bank of America’s contribution provided over 3,500 meals to our clients today, March 26th. Additionally, Bank of American employees volunteered on this day to help prepare and package the meals.

As a funder with a vision to support the local community, the impact of funding from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to support those living with critical illnesses cannot be overstated. More than 80 percent of Food & Friends’ clients live at or below the poverty line; for them, the meals Food & Friends provides not only offer vital nutrition but also financial relief from the many costly burdens of living with serious illness.

“Food & Friends works tirelessly to help alleviate hunger for those who need it most throughout our community,” said Jeff Wood, Greater Washington market president, Bank of America. “With health and nutrition intricately linked, this support will enable Food & Friends to provide vital access to quality food for those living with HIV/AIDs, and we hope it will be one step further on the road to health.”

“For people living with critical illnesses, our high-quality, specialized and home-delivered meals are a low-cost intervention that assures better health outcomes, independence and an improved quality of life for those we serve,” says Food & Friends Executive Director Craig Shniderman. “It is because of the efforts of Bank of America’s Charitable Foundation that we are able to make such a difference in the lives of so many local residents in need of proper nutrition.”

March 11, 2015

Alpha Kappa Alpha - Xi Omega Chapter's Timeless Service to Food & Friends

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1998, seven members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Xi Omega Chapter, joined Food & Friends’ volunteer corps. For 17 years, this chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. has remained committed to the Food & Friends’ volunteer program and increased its volunteer numbers and hours.

Notably, in January 2015, Xi Omega logged its 1,200th volunteer hour at Food & Friends. This milestone achievement establishes the sorority as a great example for any civic organization committed to making a difference in the local community. 

“The partnership started 17 years ago as an extension of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s international focus on strengthening the family and health promotion,” says Dr. Lavdena Orr, the president of Xi Omega Chapter and sorority member for over 25 years. “We work to help those citizens in our community who are disadvantaged because of their health. Every year, more and more [Xi Omega] volunteers want to help.”

Alpha Kappa Alpha is the nation’s oldest Greek-letter sorority founded by college-educated, African-American women. Xi Omega, which was chartered in 1923, is the oldest Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc -graduate chapter in Washington, DC. Xi Omega volunteers at Food & Friends every year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in support of “a day on and not a day off” initiative.

“Our main drive for giving back every year is to make sure we are helping our community,” says Dr. Orr. “Food & Friends has the resources to help people with health challenges and we have the hands.”

Vivian Smith, an Alpha Kappa Alpha member for over 50 years and former president of Xi Omega, was part of the first group of women who volunteered in 1998. The feeling she gets when serving the community is what keeps her coming back. “Volunteering is a good feeling,” says Vivian. “For me, it’s a feeling of knowing that someone out there is going to benefit from something I’ve been able to do.”

Xi Omega’s community service not only results in the preparation and delivery of nutritious meals, but a better understanding of how the community can support the critically ill.

“We have seen positive changes in Food & Friends over the years,” says Cora Dixon, member of the sorority for over 40 years and Food & Friends volunteer since 1998. “Our experience there has caused other [Alpha Kappa Alpha] members to want to come. It seems like they have developed an appetite to come and make a difference in the lives of those who are seriously ill.”

For April Gaines-Jernigan, an AKA member for 33 years, volunteering fulfills a vow she made when she first joined the organization. “When I leave, I feel like I have contributed to the community and that we have made an impact and a statement that we are fulfilling our [sorority] pledge of serving all mankind. I enjoy it and wish that we could come more often!”

Thank you Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Xi Omega Chapter for being such a great partner. Your commitment to Food & Friends’ mission is a shining example of a partnership that results in positive outcomes for the community.

March 9, 2015

How We Plan Our Specialized Menu

We've all been there. You're hosting a dinner party for your friends and each of them has different food preferences and possibly even food allergies or intolerances. Now, imagine developing a 6-week menu for hundreds of people. To even the most experienced chef, this scenario is quite the challenge.

Planning our 6-week menu of specialized nutritious meals is a complex, multifaceted task for our team of chefs and registered dietitians. The primary goal of this process is to develop meals that appeal to our clients while supporting their overall health and immune function. Check out our infographic below which explains how our team of chefs and dietitians develop meals that are relevant and vital to those we serve.

February 19, 2015

Contribute with Confidence

We know there are many organizations competing for your charitable dollar. We have a deep respect for our donors. It is important to us that your contributions are put to good use. Thank you for your trust and for joining us in our work meeting the needs of those in our community who are counting on us as they battle serious illnesses. Because of you, our neighbors in need are able to receive food and nutrition education, at no cost to them, as they battle HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses. We are sincerely grateful. 

We are committed to the highest level of service to our clients and the highest standard of stewardship of the contributions of our staff, volunteers and donors. As reported in Food & Friends’ most recent Form 990, 81.1% of donated funds are used for direct client costs. This far exceeds the 65% minimum program expenses suggested by the Better Business Bureau and demonstrates to you that we take our fiduciary and governance responsibilities very seriously. Charity Navigator, a nonprofit watchgroup, gives us a 97% score in Accountability & Transparency.

IRS Form 990 Facts
  • Food & Friends' annual budget for 2015 is more than $9 million;
  • 81.1% of budget supports program expenses;
  • 3.5% of budget supports administrative expenses;
  • 15.4% of budget supports fundraising and development expenses;

Breakdown of Food & Friends Revenue Streams (based on 2013 Audit):
  • Public Funding: 32.4%
  • Individuals: 31.2%
  • Special Events: 15.6%
  • Corporations and Foundations: 12.9%
  • Capital Campaign: 4.9%
  • Other: 3%

We hire the best talent and work hard to retain staff:
  • 52 staff members;
  • We leverage the support of more than 10,000 volunteers each year to stretch every dollar we raise;
  • We take professional development seriously and have an ambitious staff training program. Food & Friends’ staff attend dozens of local trainings and webinars each year to keep their professional skills sharp and up-to-date. Food & Friends also pays the dues for several staff to join relevant professional associations;
  • Our Executive Director, Craig Shniderman, has led Food & Friends for over 20 years;
  • Results of our investment in staff retention are tangible:
    • 49% of staff have worked at Food & Friends at least 5 years;
    • 23% of staff have worked for Food & Friends for at least 10 years;
    • 11% of staff have more than 15 years tenure;

You, our donors, are a critical part of our mission. It’s your dollars that keep us going and enable us to serve a need in the community. So you have the right to know how your gift is used. You can learn more about the impact of your gift through our monthly enewsletter, ChopTalk publication, tax returns, audited statements and annual report. We believe in transparency and accountability, which is why all these reports are provided for your directly on our website. 

If you have any questions about the impact of our services and how your money is put to good use, please contact our Director of Development, Pat Cornell, at or (202) 269-6970.

January 27, 2015

Vote Food & Friends for "Best Place to Volunteer"

Vote Food & Friends for Best Place to Volunteer
Each year, the Washington City Paper holds it's "Best of DC Readers' Poll" contest which picks the best restaurants, shops, bars, and much, much more. This year, please help Food & Friends win the great honor of "Best Place to Volunteer."

Volunteers are the heart of Food & Friends. Our services to children and adults in the region facing life-challenging illnesses would not be possible without their help in the kitchen, in our offices and on the road. This past year, more than 10,000 volunteers shared their time and talents with Food & Friends donating more than 100,000 hours of service.

Polls close at midnight on March 1st. Some of our current volunteers tell you below why we deserve this recognition:
"It's more than just seeing the faces on the other side of the door, but knowing that you are impacting the lives of others in need."

"Food & Friends values the opinions of its volunteers and strives to make each visit a better experience for everyone involved."

"We were very impressed by how organized everything was and how everything has its own process. It is awesome that Food & Friends is able to provide the assistance that you do to your clients and cater to all of their dietary needs with healthy food."

"The staff is upbeat, fun and friendly and they always make me feel welcome and that whatever task I'm doing is truly beneficial and appreciated."

"This is such a great place to help. Everyone can get involved in her/his own way!"

December 3, 2014

Washington Post: D.C. nonprofit puts the ‘happy’ in Thanksgiving by feeding ill area residents

Karen Washington hugs Food & Friends volunteer Petie Bonbreast in
Capitol Heights, Md., on Nov. 27, 2014. (Kate Patterson/For The Washington Post)

By Robert Samuels November 27

Karen Washington could only call the delivery a blessing. Two volunteers with the nonprofit organization Food & Friends had knocked on the doors of her Capitol Heights home, carrying a bag packed with a full Thanksgiving dinner that could feed a half-dozen.
Washington thanked them. She hugged them. “Come in, come in!” she invited.
In the kitchen, Washington’s sons were cutting up peppers and chopping celery. They began unpacking the feast bestowed upon them: roasted turkey, sweet potatoes, cornbread stuffing, green beans, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce.
(Source: Samuels, Robert (2014, November 27). D.C. nonprofit puts the 'happy' in Thanksgiving by feeding ill area residents. The Washington Post, pp. B, B2).