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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 pcornell@foodandfriends.org 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).


November 13, 2014

It's More Than Pie - It's Helping a Mother Support Her Family

Your support of Slice of Life will make a tremendous impact on our clients. Naomi Ryan is one of them.

For Naomi, undergoing treatment for breast cancer meant frequent trips to the hospital. Naomi’s radiation therapy was five times a week, for two hours a day, and left Naomi feeling weak and tired when she got home. Preparing meals was the last thing on her mind.

When good nutrition was becoming increasingly important, Naomi struggled to find the time or energy to prepare meals for herself or for her son.

“Right after surgery, I would come home and be exhausted,” says Naomi. "All I wanted to do was sleep - I didn't have the energy to cook."

Food & Friends is helping Naomi and her family by delivering meals 3 times a week, supplying them with the nutrition Naomi needs to help her stay healthy. Lifting that burden allows Naomi to focus on her treatment and stay healthy. 

Naomi’s 10-year-old son, a Type-1 diabetic, also benefits from Food & Friends services.

“For him it is important to eat, and watch what he eats,” Naomi says. “The things Food & Friends brings are good for him.”

Oranges and apples Food & Friends delivers provide daily nutrition to mother and son at a time when a healthy diet is important in their lives. Before going to school, Naomi’s son loves to eat the eggs and turkey sausage that Food & Friends brings them. He uses the milk to have cereal in the morning too.

"[Before Food & Friends], sometimes there wasn't enough food,” says Naomi. “When Food & Friends comes, we're like 'Thank god we have meals.'"





October 31, 2014

What is a ghost's favorite pie? | Pie Flavor of the Week


LET'S GO NUTS, IT'S HALLOWEEN!

Nutty Pecan is crazy about Halloween - his clown costume is perfect for today's festivities! He also loves telling his favorite Halloween joke:

Q: What is a ghost's favorite pie?

A: "Boo"berry pie!

But Nutty Pecan knows he's way better than any "boo"berry pie - our Slice of Life pecan pie has a delicious buttery crust overflowing with pecans. This traditional Southern pie has the consistency of a scrumptious torte and tastes even better warm!

Nutty Pecan is just one of the FIVE DELICIOUS FLAVORS that are sure to make you extra thankful this Thanksgiving. Order online and pick up your pie on November 25th at a pick-up site in DC, MD, or VA.


Not local? Buy a pie for a Food & Friends client that will be delivered with their Thanksgiving meal.

Don't wait! Order by November 20th and do something sweet this holiday season that will help thousands of our neighbors in need.



October 30, 2014

Food Insecurity and the Chronically Ill



Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. For many, it can mean overindulgence in heavy plates loaded with turkey, rich stuffing and mashed potatoes. However, for food insecure households in our community, celebrating the holiday festivities is a bit more difficult.

Lack of access to healthy food contributes to poor health outcomes.
Access to affordable healthy food is a challenge for many DC Metro Region residents. In the District of Columbia, more than 13% of the population faces food insecurity. Along with hunger, lack of access to healthy food contributes to poor health outcomes.

Food insecurity frequently leads to a diet which is void of basic vitamins and minerals but overwhelmingly high in saturated and hydrogenated fats, simple carbohydrates and sodium. Elevated rates of depression, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, increased risk of infection and malnutrition are all associated with food insecurity.

For those living with a chronic illness, proper nutrition can minimize the side effects of harsh medications and treatment, risk of infection and hospitalizations. Consistent access to good food plays a powerful role in preventing, treating and surviving serious health conditions.

People who are HIV positive are more likely to routinely face food insecurity. Food insecurity within the HIV positive community at the national level impacts an estimated 48-50% of the population. Food & Friends’ consistent provision of well-balanced and nutritionally complete meals is beneficial to clients by improving adherence to antiretroviral therapies and supporting CD4 cell levels, helping to keep HIV clients’ viral loads in better control.

Rates of food insecurity are also much higher for people living with cancer (approximately 56% of the population). Delivering food to these individuals and their families helps them maintain their weight throughout treatment which reduces rates of malnutrition, decreasing overall mortality and disruption to treatment due to infection or hospitalizations.

Chronic illness has profound impacts on the demand for food nutrition services, especially the need for medically-appropriate nutrition. Food & Friends’ clients have unique nutritional needs and challenges that need to be met. With the support of our partners, volunteers, and donors, Food & Friends will continue to connect the community with our most vulnerable neighbors to ensure that they receive the nutrition needed to battle their illness.



October 22, 2014

Slice of Life Pie Flavor of the Week: Pumpkin

TRADITIONAL | PERFECT MIX OF SPICES | FRESH PUMPKIN FLAVOR

Howdy! Each year our Spiced Pumpkin Ranger hopes to lasso his friend Homemade Apple as they duel to be the most popular pie flavor in town. But every year he falls a little bit short.


This is your chance to help Spiced Pumpkin bring home the prize!

Buy a Slice of Life pumpkin pie, or any of our 5 delicious pie flavors, and you will help provide ONE FULL day of meals to one of our clients. These meals will provide critical nourishment as they struggle with HIV/AIDS, cancer or another debilitating illness.

Spiced Pumpkin is a Thanksgiving staple, and ours has a creamy filling with the perfect mix of spices and fresh pumpkin flavor in a delectable crust! Get yours today!

Here are some other ways that you can support Slice of Life:

BUY A PIE FOR A FOOD & FRIENDS CLIENT
You can ensure that in addition to a FULL Thanksgiving dinner for 4, our clients will also receive an apple and a pumpkin pie with their holiday dinner.

GIFT A PIE
Send a pie as a gift and the recipient will receive an e-card with a redemption code. They can even select the pick-up site that's best for them.

SPREAD THE WORD
Tell your friends to buy their Thanksgiving pies from us! Here are a few Tweets you can post:
  • #Thanksgiving is JUST a few weeks away. Buy a #SliceofLifeDC pie & provide a day of meals for @foodandfriends clients www.foodandfriends.org/pie
  • Deliver hope 1 pie at a time! Buy your #SliceofLifeDC T-Day pies from @foodandfriends. Sales end 11/20. www.foodandfriends.org/pie

Sales Close Thursday, November 20th so ACT NOW!


October 1, 2014

WATCH: IT'S PIE TIME!

Our annual Slice of Life pie sale begins today and we want you to be a part of it! Buy your pie from Food & Friends and brighten the holidays for our neighbors facing HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses.

When you buy pies from us, not only will you serve a delicious and homemade pie from our local artisan baker, Baguette Republic, but each pie purchased will provide one full day of meals for the people we serve.It’s never too early to start thinking about your Thanksgiving spread.

You can also sign up to be a pie seller and encourage your friends and family to get involved!

Check out our Slice of Life video to see the steps that go in to making our delicious pies.







September 18, 2014

Malnutrition & Cancer

“Weight loss in cancer patients is due to depletion of both adipose tissue and skeletal muscle mass, while the non-muscle protein compartment is relatively preserved thus distinguishing cachexia from simple starvation”.
-Michael Tisdale, Professor of Cancer Biochemistry, Aston University
What this means is when a person without cancer loses weight intentionally or unintentionally, they lose primarily fat (adipose tissue). Weight loss for a cancer patient is much more detrimental; in addition to losing fat, they also lose muscle. This indiscriminate type of weight loss places cancer patients at great risk for serious infections like pneumonia, which causes a disruption to their treatment plan.

Malnutrition prevalence in cancer patients varies widely from 20% to 80% based on the site of their primary tumor. A weight loss of 10% of a person’s weight pre-cancer increases their risk of all-cause mortality while going through cancer treatment. Notice, there is no mention of whether or not a person’s starting weight was considered within normal limits or healthy; even when someone is obese at the beginning of cancer treatment, our goal should always be to help their weight stay stable throughout treatment.

As dietitians, our primary goal in working with cancer patients is weight stability which in turn reduces disruption to treatment and protects a patient’s performance status. Providing the high quality nutrient dense foods that we do at Food & Friends helps make weight stability an achievable goal for our clients.


Robin Brannon, MS, RD,CSO, Nutrition Services Manager

Robin Brannon is the Nutrition Services Manager at Food & Friends. Previously she spent three years as the Clinical Nutrition Manager at The George Washington University Hospital. She serves as the associate editor for Oncology Nutrition Connection, the peer-reviewed journal of the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. She also serves on the Chesapeake Food Leadership Council, The Dietetics Program Advisory Board at the University of the District of Columbia, and Patient Education Committee Member of the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation. Robin earned a Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University, and a specialty certification in oncology nutrition from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. She received her Bachelor’s in Dietetics from College of the Ozarks.


September 17, 2014

Malnutrition & HIV/AIDS

Our clients who live with HIV and AIDS have an especially difficult time staying properly nourished because of how the virus impacts their body’s ability to retain and properly metabolize certain nutrients.

Many people with HIV/AIDS are deficient in the following nutrients:
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • B6
  • B12
  • Riboflavin
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
Having prolonged nutrient deficiencies can cause problems with Coronary Artery Disease, Dyslipidemia (this can be high cholesterol, but may also be high triglycerides—high triglycerides when untreated lead to liver failure), insulin resistance (making diabetes more likely) and increase in overall inflammation, which makes heart disease in general more likely.

Malnutrition in HIV/AIDS clients comes in two forms: undernutrition and overnutrition. When a client is overnourished, they will generally be far over their ideal body weight for their height. Overnutrition causes a cascade of hormonal shifts that cause clients to be more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

Undernutrition can be evaluated by reviewing weight history over the past 4-6 months. A weight loss of as little as 5% of a person’s usual body weight makes them more at risk for a drop in their CD4 counts as well as increasing their risk for opportunistic infections.

These are just a few reasons why it is vital to our clients' health and lives that we focus on sending out healthy and balanced meals and provide opportunities for nutrition education.

Robin Brannon, MS, RD,CSO, Nutrition Services Manager

Robin Brannon is the Nutrition Services Manager at Food & Friends. Previously she spent three years as the Clinical Nutrition Manager at The George Washington University Hospital. She serves as the associate editor for Oncology Nutrition Connection, the peer-reviewed journal of the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. She also serves on the Chesapeake Food Leadership Council, The Dietetics Program Advisory Board at the University of the District of Columbia, and Patient Education Committee Member of the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation. Robin earned a Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University, and a specialty certification in oncology nutrition from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. She received her Bachelor’s in Dietetics from College of the Ozarks.