Recipe For Hope
There’s an intoxicating aroma filling the air. It’s sweet, savory, warm, and flavorful. It’s a familiar scent that recalls memories of home. It engulfs you immediately upon entrance into Edmond Mobile Meals. Oklahoma’s bitter winter breeze even falls victim to the friendly faces and warm personas working inside. It’s appropriate that the facility’s main entryway leads you directly into the heart of the organization – the kitchen. Five volunteers are working alongside the organization’s chef and as various individuals enter the facility. They all stop and offer friendly hellos, anxious to offer any kind of assistance. Today, volunteers are preparing meatloaf for clients of Edmond Mobile Meals. After seeing their hard work in action, it’s easy to see that the nonprofit organization is serving so much more than just delicious food.
Edmond Mobile Meals furnishes hot, noontime meals to Edmond’s homebound elderly, disabled, and convalescing adults. The nonprofit was established over 40 years ago and continues to be a savory beacon of hope for so many community members. This year, they are expanding their efforts with the release of a cookbook filled with original recipes that the nonprofit has become famous for making.
The cookbook is just one page in Edmond Mobile Meals’ storybook history. For over four decades, they have thrived thanks to the hard work of community volunteers. “I was new to the area and saw a church bulletin that said that they needed volunteers,” says longtime volunteer Sheree Lambert. Sheree is the grandmother who every kid dreams of having. As she moves through the offices at Edmond Mobile Meals, her gracious mannerisms and spirit seem to make her float. Before you have a chance to offer her a greeting or salutation, she’s literally offering you a fresh homemade treat that she regularly brings in for the staff. If this story were a fairytale, Sheree would definitely have the perfect slippers for the role of Fairy Godmother.
“We had five women at first and then we created a board,” Sheree says. Those early days were full of recipes made with tons of love and hope. The kitchen was old and outdated and they had fewer supplies and meals. What kept the women coming back to fulfill the mission was the great need that comes from the community. “Food companies weren’t interested in helping at that time,” she says. “We had different shoppers go to the grocery store weekly. We did about 25 meals a day.”
“Now we do 220 meals a day,” Executive Director Cristi Twenter says. “It’s changed quite a bit.” A major component of Edmond Mobile Meals’ success has been the comaraderie shared among staff members. When Cristi talks about the successes of the organization, it’s easy to tell that the small staff is much more like family. This mantra of community and family extends well beyond the confines of their office space. Through successful events like their annual street fair, EdFest, Edmond Mobile Meals has established itself as an organization that brings hope and triumph to the people of Edmond.
They are continuing this trend with the release of the organization’s second cookbook. “It was a labor of love,” says Sheree. “This is a new version,” Cristi adds. “We first did one for the 35th Anniversary. We asked volunteers, clients, staff… anyone who had recipes that they wanted to share. Some of the recipes are from our chef, Tony, and some are used in our client meals. We have frequent calls from clients requesting our recipes. All of our recipes are made from scratch. There is a lot of love that goes into preparing the food.”
Fundraising is an important factor in the service model at Edmond Mobile Meals. “We are 100 percent privately funded,” Cristi says. The organization relies on grants, fundraising events, and private donations to provide the services they offer. The cookbook is just the latest in a series of thought-provoking marketing strategies helping Edmond Mobile Meals extend its reach within the community. Is there a more scrumptious way to give back?
The new cookbook is available online today at edmondmobilemeals.org.