After nearly three years, a Client Advisory Board meeting was held once again at Project Angel Food. Led by Client Services Manager Scott Stephens, the meeting touched on various aspects of the client experience.
Eight clients attended the CAB meeting with each one unique in their background, situation and critical illnesses, but all of their stories were empowering and moving. Each client described their positive experiences with Project Angel Food and many said the organization “saved my life.”
Gregg S., who was Project Angel Food’s 10 millionth meal recipient and has been with us since 2015, said the organization played a pivotal role in improving his health. He’s even learned to cook for himself and will soon be rolling off our program to make room for someone else who needs Project Angel Food’s services. As he was leaving the meeting on Thursday afternoon, he said called it “the best advisory board meeting” he’s ever been to.
Marilyn C. described multiple illnesses she’s plagued with and how it’s impossible for her to make food. Project Angel Food’s meals are what allow her to eat. Vernel P. described his struggle with homelessness and how he’s now found stability with our meals being a big part of that structure. He was so moved that he wants to give back to Project Angel Food by delivering meals. Andrea D. was happily surprised when Project Angel Food chefs asked for her feedback about the meals and then swiftly incorporated her recommendations.
“Just about everyone in society experienced feelings of isolation during the pandemic. But for many of our clients, their baseline was already isolation,” Stephens said. “To go from already feeling isolated to feeling even more isolated is tough to fathom, but that was the experience for so many of our clients. My hope is that they came away from last night with a sense of belonging and maybe feeling a little less isolated after hearing about others’ shared experiences with Project Angel Food.”
Clients also shared constructive criticism with Stephens about how Project Angel Food could improve with new dishes, delivering of meals and other items, which will be shared with the entire team of Client Services and Dispatch.
Stephens led the meeting with impactful numbers displayed throughout a PowerPoint presentation, including our increase from 1,600 to 2,400 clients served per day during the COVID-19 pandemic and the high satisfaction scores from Project Angel Food clients. He said the last meeting took place on Aug. 22, 2019, so he was excited to have a room full of clients giving feedback.
“I feel like the meeting was a success, especially considering we had been on a bit of a pandemic-induced hiatus there,” Stephens said. “In Client Services, we always get to interact with clients over the phone, but to be able to gather with them in the same room — to hear their stories and invite their feedback — was incredibly rewarding. Introductions were definitely one of my favorite parts. I loved that clients felt comfortable enough to each share their heartwarming and, in some cases, heartbreaking stories. To hear straight from someone’s mouth how Project Angel Food saved their life… I mean, wow.”
Clients were treated to a tour of the kitchen and a tasty dinner — cooked by our very own Chefs Angel Cope and Cristian Espanta — with chicken Marbella, roasted vegetables, passionfruit lemonade and more. After the meeting closed, Stephens said “I feel like everyone left with full stomachs and full hearts. It truly was a ‘Food is love’ experience.”