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July 31, 2013

Not Once, But Twice: You Delivered Specialized Meals to Mary When She Needed Them Most

For Mary Dews, our tailored meal plans have been a life-saver – not just once, but twice.

Mary received freshly-prepared meals for two years during her battle with breast cancer. While undergoing treatment, she suffered permanent radiation burns which made it difficult for her to lift her arms. Physically unable to go grocery shopping and prepare her own meals, regular food deliveries gave Mary the energy she needed to manage her illness.

Our freshly-prepared meals helped Mary battle
breast cancer and recover from heart surgery.
“Through all of this, [Food & Friends] made me feel good, I didn’t have to worry about my food supply,” says Mary. “I would have had to do more shopping and my aide would have had to do more cooking.”

Fortunately, Mary won the battle with breast cancer and was able to discontinue services. Things were looking up for Mary-until she found out that she suffered from aortic stenosis and had to undergo heart surgery. Now she needed Food & Friends’ services for a second time and more than ever.

Not only was Mary too weak to prepare meals but her circumstances required unique nutritional attention. Mary worked with one of our registered dietitians and it was determined that a diabetic meal plan would be better for her than the regular meal plan she was on during her bout with breast cancer.

“Our diabetic meal plan provides more fruits and non-starchy vegetables, and this increased dietary fiber helps to reduce serum cholesterol levels. We also provide fresh fruit and reduced sugar items for desserts,” says Brandy Love, Registered Dietitian. “Mary’s ability to have a diabetic meal plan is great because when blood sugar levels are not under control, people are more at risk for heart disease and stroke.”

This change in Mary’s diet still provides flavorful meals and her two favorite menu items: seafood salad and baked chicken. She also doesn’t have to completely give up her love of desserts – they’re just a little different than before.

Specialized meal plans are the cornerstone of our service because strong nutrition aids in disease management and improves the quality of life of our clients. The dedicated support of thousands of donors makes it possible for us to spend the time and funds needed to tailor 11 different plans to meet the needs of each client. Thankfully, our diabetic and heart-healthy meal plans are made possible by the Walmart Foundation, who recently donated $100,000 to provide 184,405 diabetic and low-fat meals to more than 400 clients this year.

“Our goal is to provide meals based on sound nutrition recommendations, tailored to meet the specific needs of clients as best as possible,” says Brandy. “We make it very easy for clients to switch between the eleven meal plans, which can also be combined to provide the greatest flexibility.”

To ensure that her meal plan is meeting her nutritional goals, Mary frequently speaks with one of our dietitians.

“I thank God for the privilege to be a part of Food & Friends. They are helping so many people who are homebound, sick and disabled,” says Mary. “It makes you feel good that people care about your health and maintenance.”

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