By Emmett Findley, Director of Communications, God’s Love We Deliver
God’s Love We Deliver was founded in 1985 at the height of a health crisis. The AIDS pandemic was forever changing the fabric of NYC, and many of our clients—homebound individuals living with HIV/AIDS—were living alone facing stigma, illness, and hunger. In those early years, when many of them were turned away by others, we brought food, love, and dignity to neighbors, friends, family members and total strangers who were dying of this disease. In 2020 so much has changed, as we now cook and deliver more than 50,000 medically tailored meals every week to clients living with more than 200 different diagnoses. But as much as things have changed, our concern that every person should receive a beautiful nutritious meal cooked and home-delivered with love has not.
Over the last 35 years, we have played an essential role for New Yorkers who are living with serious illness. We provide life-affirming meals and nutritional therapy that help our clients stay strong and face their treatments. Many of the thousands of New Yorkers who rely on us for food spend much of their time at home and alone—but our daily meals are a reminder that the broader New York community cares.
We know that food is love, and we also believe that food is medicine. Our meals are designed by our registered dietitian nutritionists to keep our clients strong, comfortable, and more in control of their lives. Studies conducted by the national Food is Medicine Coalition, of which God’s Love We Deliver is the convener, have shown that medically tailored meals (MTM) can reduce in-patient admissions by 50 percent, allowing people to remain in their own homes. Recipients of MTM experience better mental health, lessened food insecurity, and dramatically reduced medical costs. Ours is an intervention that improves the lives of recipients and reduces the strain on the healthcare system.
This year, once again, we are facing a healthcare crisis and are at the frontlines. In March and April we added 1,000 new clients to our program and we anticipate that we will add an additional 1,500 by July. We are honored that the city has named us an essential services provider because in this current climate, when a highly infectious virus is once more changing the fabric of our city, our intervention keeps everyone safer. Medically tailored meals relieve some of the pressure on a heavily burdened healthcare system and keep some of the most vulnerable to this illness in their homes.
June is usually a moment of immense joy at God’s Love We Deliver. We take the month to reflect on Pride, and we observe how far we have come as a community. We celebrate our history, our future, and our unwavering commitment to those living with HIV, to diversity, to LGBTQ+ rights, and to our entire community.
This year, our celebration will be changed. The Pride March, an annual moment of physical togetherness, will happen at a distance. However, the strength of our community has always existed in more than a gathering or a physical space. It lives in the reaffirmation that we will continue to “be there” for each other, even if, for the time being, our “theres” are separate.
From our kitchen to yours, we’re wishing you health and happiness during these difficult days, understanding all the while that we’ll get through this once again, together.