Ron Karp of Food for Thought has been the Executive Director since 1996. The organization’s mission is to provide healing nutrition and compassion to more than 1,000 people living with serious illnesses in Sonoma County.
Food for Thought approaches food as medicine. Their website states, “A growing body of research demonstrates that proper nutrition can improve health outcomes and quality of life. One recent study shows that a nutrition intervention similar to Food for Thought’s reduced hospital admissions by 26% and decreased client medical costs by 19% per month.”
They have over time identified the critical needs of the community that they serve, recognizing social connection as a key determinant of health. A great majority of their clients suffer from loneliness, isolation, depression and anxiety, and many live in isolated, rural areas with no access to transportation. Studies have shown that home-delivered nutrition services are also shown to decrease depression and loneliness.
Food for Thought provides services in a compassionate and respectful manner, without any fees, waiting lists or other barriers to service.
This organization is a shining example of the synergy (collaboration?) that permeates the Healdsburg and Geyserville non-profit community. Food for Thought initiated a project called Bags of Love. They provide food to Reach for Home and the Alliance Medical Center, two other recipients of the Healdsburg Forever 2020 grants. To facilitate the recipients of these “Bags,” they provide disposable utensils and napkins along with healthy, ready to eat food that doesn’t need refrigeration, providing the caloric equivalent of 12 meals.
How has Food for Thought managed during the pandemic? They have had to forego the support of hundreds of volunteers who typically work 475 hours per week. Their pre-Covid numbers were 600 volunteers and 20,000 volunteer hours per year. To fill the gap, Food for Thought has hired five temporary employees, at the added expense of $4,230 per week. Cost of food and delivery has increased, and food availability has decreased in some instances.
Healdsburg Forever is proud to help fund Food for Thought and feed our neighbors least capable of providing for themselves.