Prompted by a newspaper article about the growing number of people with AIDS in Marin County, Carola Detrick, a local business woman and volunteer at Project Open Hand in San Francisco, founded a similar food delivery organization in Marin. She began with just two clients on March 3, 1993. Without funding or staff, Meals of Marin was born. When the client count reached 28, Detrick solicited the assistance of Beth Ashley of the Marin Independent Journal. Ashley wrote a feature article about the fledgling organization and within two days, MOM had 50 volunteers.
MOM has only one core program—free, daily delivery of two meals to homebound people living with life threatening illnesses in Marin County. MOM provides food for those who would otherwise be ineligible for service—those who are not poor enough, not old enough or ill with a disease other than AIDS. Volunteer cooks using organic and natural foods prepare all of the hot dinners and bag lunches with specific attention to the individual dietary needs of each client. Volunteer drivers deliver meals to the homes of the clients using their own cars and their own gas. The meals are delivered 365 days a year. There are no “days off” at MOM. People who are homebound have no days off from hunger or days off from loneliness.
The goal of MOM is to ensure that no person with a life-threatening illness goes hungry because he/she is too weak to cook or too poor to buy food. There is no waiting list and no wait to receive food. MOM clients are fed the very same day that a call comes in. In six years of service, MOM has never missed a meal nor turned away anyone asking for food. The volunteers of this organization have prepared and delivered more than 150,000 meals without salary or compensation. The 100% volunteer staff at MOM includes children, families, professional chefs and businesses. The program also does not receive any government funding.
MOM’s long-standing relationship with local farmers’ markets, small groceries and businesses, and home gardeners has increased awareness about the effectiveness of food recovery in combating hunger and eliminating food waste and excess production. The direct, no-nonsense approach of MOM is based on volunteer labor and in-kind donations of food and services. This approach has encouraged a streamlined, economical budget that is powerfully efficient. The success of the MOM program is measured in dignity not dollars.