‘Every day is Thanksgiving at Project Angel Food’ so simply and eloquently describes what we’re all about: immeasurable gratitude; compassionate individuals who place altruism above all else; and, of course, delicious and hearty food.
While every day at Project Angel Food may not look like Thanksgiving in the traditional sense—with a turkey feast, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and a game of touch football—the holiday’s essence is ever-present. When I think about this essence, Ted H. and Phil G. are two people that come to mind.
Ted has been volunteering in our kitchen for nearly four years. Every Tuesday and Friday, you can find him chopping zucchini and onions, baking chicken, and preparing healthy meals for our critically ill clients.
About two years ago, Ted found out his partner Phil had bladder cancer. At the time, Phil’s doctors said he had a 12 percent chance of survival. “It was a very stressful time for us. It was horrible,” Ted says.
Overwhelmed with how he’d be able to care for Phil, Ted knew where to turn. “My friends at Project Angel Food were there for me. The meals they provided alleviated much of the stress in my caring for Phil. I’m so grateful we had that.” Ted knew what went into those meals, and the nourishment made a huge difference.
Phil stayed on service with Project Angel Food for about six months, allowing for him and Ted to more easily transition into their new normal. Today, Phil has a three to five-year survival rate and is thankful for his ‘no detectable new disease’ status. “I know the meals helped immensely,” shares Ted.
In the face of these trying circumstances, Ted remains positive and focused on the work he carries out as a Project Angel Food volunteer, saying, “I feel very blessed that I’ve had a good life. This is my way of giving back.” As for Phil, the nourishment he received from Project Angel Food left a lasting impression. He says: “Nothing’s as important as feeding people.”
This Thanksgiving, Project Angel Food will be delivering special hot meals to all of our clients, many of whom are homebound and living alone. Meals will include a turkey dinner with stuffing made from scratch, mashed potatoes and gravy, organic vegetables, and yes, a slice of pumpkin pie too!
Someone else who knows first-hand about the importance of food, nutrition, and love when facing illness is Herb G., one of our beloved longtime donors/volunteers.
Herb started as a volunteer delivery driver in the early ‘90s. In 2009, he received the Delivery Angel of the Year Award at our annual volunteer appreciation awards. Then, in 2011, Herb transitioned out of his delivery role, as Project Angel Food had switched from delivering hot meals to flash-frozen meals and volunteers were no longer needed for deliveries.
This summer, when we launched our state pilot program for Medi-Cal beneficiaries with congestive heart failure (CHF), the need for volunteer drivers arose once again—and Herb, without hesitation, jumped at the opportunity to help. These days, he delivers food to Candice A., a client with CHF living just outside of Compton. Candice is in her 30’s, has two children, and is grateful to Project Angel Food for the low-salt meals because “they keep me out of the hospital.” She’s especially appreciative of the meals for her kids, saying, “we love eating together as a family.”
When asked why he volunteers, Herb says Project Angel Food “helps me feel like I am contributing, that I am helping somebody else.”
Time is such a precious gift, and I’m so thankful for Herb, Ted, and the thousands of other volunteers who spend their time with us preparing and delivering Project Angel Food’s miracle of love and nutrition.
I know not everyone can devote their time to volunteering, but another way you can help is with a financial contribution. Your donation will undeniably be put to good use, as 85 cents of every dollar goes directly toward meal preparation and delivery.
During this season of gratitude, please consider donating to Project Angel Food today—you’d be helping us feed more than 1,400 residents in Los Angeles County living with life-threatening illnesses. Your support will help us hand-deliver a delicious Thanksgiving meal to someone you may never know. But rest assured – THEY will know that someone cares, and that someone is you!
P.S. At Thanksgiving and always, we give thanks for YOU and deeply appreciate your gift in any amount!