Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What is HMFA?

Hearty Meals for All is a free community meal served on the second Friday of each month at the Somerville Community Baptist Church at 31 College Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144. For more information, comment on this blog or email us at heartymealsforall@gmail.com

A Big Thanks to our supporters: New England Grassroots Environmental Fund, Somerville Health Foundation, The Somerville Community Baptist Church, and all of our wonderful individual donors, family, and friends!

Program Description

Hearty Meals for All aims to meet a community need by providing wholesome, cooked meals that use fresh produce, lean meats, and fresh dairy products and by creating a welcoming and open atmosphere for individuals and families to enjoy their food. Hearty Meals for All secular meal times will be held at the Somerville Community Baptist Church in Davis Square and will also serve as a venue for social support services, such as resources and referrals, free health services administered by local health organizations, and opportunities for self-expression.

Mission Statement

To meet the nutritional and social needs of the community by providing free, healthy, fresh meals in a welcoming atmosphere. To help develop avenues through which healthy habits can flourish.

Vision Statement

To create a safe, stable, and friendly environment in which free and healthy community meals are served, where individuals and families of all means feel comfortable participating. A warm environment that is bursting with activity, in which guests and volunteers are one in the same and are peers. An apparent emphasis on healthy eating and healthy living that is not patronizing, but rather invites participants to learn about and take charge of their health and nutrition while connecting community members with the resources to do so.

Who Is HMFA?

Hearty Meals for All is volunteer-administered and run. Community volunteers (including guests) help with fundraising, advertising, daily operations, food ordering, food pick-up, food and supply inventory, meal set-up, meal preparation, meal service, clean-up, and event planning.

Rebecca Gallo, M.P.H., L.C.S.W. and Emily Bullen, L.C.S.W will administer the program. Rebecca earned a Masters degree in Social Work and a Masters degree in Public Health from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from American University. She is a licensed clinical social worker. Emily received a Master's degree in Social Enterprise Administration from the Columbia University School of Social Work in New York, N.Y., and a Bachelor's degree in Sociology/Criminal Justice from the George Washington University. She is also a licensed social worker.


  1. Do your workshops deal with cooking nutritious meals on a limited budget? I question whether the poor have to eat cheap junk food because it is all they can afford. This is not a judgement but truly a question. I know their access to good food is limited by their poverty, e.g., no good grocery stores in their neighborhood, poor public transit options but I think awareness of nutrition and lack of cooking skills (not limited to the poor, alas!) contributes a fair share to the unhealthy diet of many of the poor. I've often thought offering good food and a chance to socialize coupled with a cooking demo and opportunities to cook together would be a great service to offer the poor. OK, I've rambled enough! You may already have this covered!

  2. Linda,

    I love your idea and your interest in fixing the causes of a poor diet instead of just offering food. I, too, wondered whether cheap junk food was truly more affordable than healthy food. To answer this, I wrote a program that reads a database of prices and nutrients of grocery store foods and finds the lowest cost combination that satisfies the FDA's recommended daily intake for each (not just the main ones like calories and fat but also minor nutrients like niacin, folate, etc). I found that the minimum price for our area seems to be about $2.50/day, though a reasonable diet (can't just eat flour by itself) will run about $100/month. I put this program online for free in the effort to help those in need. The website is www.nutrimentumfood.com. Once you make an account, you can begin tailoring the diet to your preferences. Please help me spread this to those who can help the needy. Junk food is not the cheapest way to eat. We need to dispel this myth!


  3. I think it is great that youre both thinking about this! Great job Greg. Unfortunately while junk food may not be the cheapest way to eat, it certainly is cheaper to fill the bellies of a family on less nutritional food; ie: bologna @ 99 cents/lb vs low sodium turkey @4.99/lb. Spices are also less economical than frying foods in fat for flavor. Then of course there are the convenience foods loaded with junk that many workers rely upon due to time constraints that meake it impractical to cook complete & healthy meals like in days gone by. Its a complicated issue w/many factors.