Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County does a great service to its community by providing food suitable for those with religious dietary restrictions, but before their Healthy Food Connect grant, their delivery process was expensive: To make the rounds with food from Yad Ezra, JFS’ Jewish food pantry, they were renting a U-Haul each month!
Not only did their grant allow the purchase of a box truck for deliveries, but it also gave JFS the opportunity to partner with a local organization they’d been wanting to work with, Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels.
“We noticed that a lot of our clients in Ypsilanti were using our program and Meals on Wheels,” said Laurie Cohen, JFS development director. “So [Meals on Wheels] could give our bags to their customers, or to our customers along their routes.”
The partnership has increased the program’s visibility, thanks too to Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels letting its customers know about JFS’ offerings. The number of participants has increased, too, with more than 100 served between the Yad Ezra and Meals on Wheels deliveries.
A delivery might include a breakfast item like oatmeal, fresh produce that are easy for seniors to cut and prepare, fresh seasonal and canned fruit, spaghetti and sauce, tuna, and frozen meat.
“It’s been going really well,” Cohen said. “It’s been easier to put all this together than if it was just us trying to do it on our own.”