JAMAICA PLAIN, MA – Community Servings’ forthcoming Food Is The Foundation campaign is expected to nearly triple its meal production capacity to 1.5 million meals a year. The effort is the group’s approach to the fact that at any given moment, there are between 100 and 150 individuals and families seeking to have their need for nutritious and individually tailored meals met.
The organization notes that it has proven that medically tailored meals can result in a 16 percent reduction in healthcare costs. A new $21 million project, Food Campus, on its site here, will consist of a three-story addition and kitchen expansion in its existing space. The 31,000-square-foot project will Community Servings to triple production of medically tailored meals to meet increasing demand, double the capacity for daily volunteers, and double the number of foodservice job training graduates.
“We are extremely excited about our project, especially with how the new building’s design will open up our organization to the community like never before,” says David B. Waters, CEO. “Tall windows will afford views of the dynamic work of our daily volunteers, while new classrooms will provide ample space for nutrition education and job training for our neighbors. Most importantly, we will be able to increase the number of meals we make and deliver to feed those in need.”
A groundbreaking ceremony with Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel, along with other key philanthropic supporters of the Food is the Foundation capital campaign, which to date has surpassed 80 percent of its $10 million fundraising goal. This private capital combined with equity raised from New Markets Tax Credits, private debt from community development lenders, and funding from the City of Boston will pay for the construction and expansion, Community Servings explains.
Demand for the group’s medically tailored meals has risen 40 percent in recent years, says Waters. The project is expected to include:
- A Learning Kitchen that will accommodate up to 24 students for job training and nutrition classes, and include video capabilities for nutrition education seminars.
- A Family-Friendly Volunteer Kitchen that will allow individuals of different abilities and families with young children to volunteer in meal preparation and packaging.
- A Baking Kitchen that will produce desserts for special diet clients in-house, saving on the cost of purchased desserts while adding a baking component to the job-training program.
- A Food & Health Policy Center that will focus on research into medically tailored meals and health care, and replicating the Community Servings model on a national scale.
The project is expected to be completed a year from this Fall. Leading the design and development of the Food Campus are construction manager Shawmut Design and Construction, development adviser QPD, architect Jacobs, engineer Bohler Engineering, environmental adviser Ransom Consulting, and financial adviser Affirmative Investments. In addition, the law firms Brown Rudnick LLP and Greenberg Traurig LLP provided pro bono legal services for the project.
Lenders include Cambridge Savings Bank, City of Boston, Low Income Investment Fund, Nonprofit Finance Fund, PNC Financial Services Group, and the Property and Casualty Initiative. The federal New Markets Tax Credits program and the federal Healthy Food Finance Initiative are critical components of the project financing.