Mealtime with the family is something that many people look forward to at the end of the day as a way to set aside family time amidst their busy daily lives. For breast cancer patients undergoing treatment, planning and preparing a nutritious family meal could be a challenging task that requires energy a sick patient doesn’t have. Magnolia Meals at Home aims to restore a sense of normalcy for breast cancer patients and their families by providing free, ‘well-balanced’ meals to countless homes throughout the Northeast region of the U.S.
“This gives you a break, but it also gives you a boost to know that someone out there is doing something for you,” Janis Cravotta, a breast cancer-stricken patient told CBS Boston.
Cravotta is still undergoing several cancer treatments, which take a serious toll on her health and make it difficult for her to regularly prepare meals. But with the help of Magnolia Meals at Home, Cravotta has been able to put food on the family table. “It’s very convenient and very nutritious,” she said.
Magnolia Meals at Home in Massachusetts is a program funded by Eisai Pharmaceuticals Company in Andover. Eisai Inc. and three non-profits groups — Meals on Wheels Association of America, The Cancer Support Community and CancerCare — have formed a unique partnership with one common goal: to provide healthy meals to breast cancer patients throughout the United States.
The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer in the U.S. in 2013 alone. The good news is that more women are surviving the disease due to early detection and improved treatment. But while death rates are down, coping with breast cancer and the treatments for the disease can still create a massive toll on patients and their families.
Magnolia Meals At Home in the Massachusetts area is available to anyone who is undergoing breast cancer treatment. The year-old program operates out of Boston, and serves patients as far north as southern New Hampshire. It can provide patients with meals for two months at a time, during which they receive 10 meals if they are single and 20 meals if they have a family. These meals are specifically designed to fit the nutritional needs of breast cancer patients, Boston magazine reports.
Magnolia Meals at Home not only helps Massachusetts patients but also those in the areas of New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire. Up to two months of home meal deliveries are available for patients if they have undergone chemotherapy, radiation, or hormone therapy, or were discharged from the hospital in the last three months (current patients included), according to the program’s website.
“With all that people go through with these treatments, to give them a little bit less worry, less concern and more time with their families is incredibly important,” said Jane Brown, Magnolia Meals at Home program coordinator for Massachusetts and New Hampshire to CBS Boston. A breast cancer survivor herself, Brown understands the importance of lending a helping hand to those in need.
Besides providing a nutritious meal, Magnolia also offers cancer stricken patients the benefit of comforting visitors.
“[The volunteers] will sit and chit chat. They keep you company for a short time, but it’s really nice because you get to know people,” said Cravotta.
Volunteers of the program, like Linda Farr and Ted Suh, who both work for Eisai Inc, deliver frozen meals to patients across Massachusetts. “You walk away with a feeling that you alleviated one of the burdens on their shoulders and you just made one thing easier for them so they can battle cancer,” Farr told CBS Boston.
For more information on the program or to see if you or someone you know is eligible, visit magnoliamealsathome.com.