Healing Meals is a Gift of Love for Ill Children, Seniors and Families in Need
Healing Meals is the first of its kind nutritious food gifting program currently available in Bergen and Passaic Counties in New Jersey. Healing Meals provides nutritious meals for families with children undergoing treatment for cancer, serious blood disorders and sickle cell anemia distributed through Tomorrows Children’s Fund (TCF) at Hackensack University Medical Center, through Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Paterson, NJ and also through Emmanuel Cancer Foundation. We expanded the Healing Meals program to include seniors in need living at Ridgecrest Senior Housing and S.H.A.R.E., Inc. (Senior Housing Association of Ridgewood and Envrions) both located in Ridgewood, NJ.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we added Ridgewood Social Services and vicinity to delivery Healing Meals to a variety of families and individuals in need. We continue to provide food for those who need it most.
Registered Dietitian and HealthBarn Foundation, Director Stacey Antine hand selected the nutritious recipes from APPETITE FOR LIFE. Community and student volunteers from the Bergen County Academies’ Healing Meals Club, Northern Highlands High School and Indian Hills Interact Club prepare the recipes at No Fuss Lunch’s commercial kitchen using fresh, natural and organic foods donated by Whole Foods Market Bergen County locations and through private donations. HealthBarn Foundation purchases additional ingredients and packaging a well.
“Helping thousands of families eat healthy and personally dealing with cancer in my family, I knew the only way to help children get good nutrition during this stressful time of treatment was to prepare meals and make them readily available for families,” says Stacey Antine, MS, RDN, Director, HealthBarn Foundation.
Children with cancer, serious blood disorders and sickle cell anemia have heightened nutritional needs and may lack access to nutritionally healthy meals during the stressful time of treatment. Healing Meals are selected by Stacey for their nutritional value as well as their popularity with children and families. The meal items include: breakfast, soups, dinner choices and desserts packaged fresh and then, frozen in servings of four for the whole family. Each meal is labelled with nutritional information, heating instructions and expiration date.
“Assess to healthy food is important at all ages, including seniors who have unique nutritional needs and challenges from health conditions to limited functional abilities that need to be considered, that’s why we are collaborating with Ridgecrest and S.H.A.R.E to provide the nutrition they need,” added Antine.
These nutritious meals are distributed through Tomorrows Children’s Fund at Hackensack University Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital as families leave the clinic after a long day of treatment and by social workers visiting low-income families with children in treatment at Emmanuel Cancer Foundation. By making the meals readily available to families through the hospital sets the bar high for quality and safety and creates a replicator model for hospitals across the country.
If you want to get involved with Healing Meals or have any questions, please email [email protected].