Tyson Foods, Inc., has recognized Courtney White, founder and operator of nonprofit organization Culinary Care, for her outstanding efforts to provide nutritious meals to cancer patients and their families. White, a 27-year-old Chicago native, is the third individual honored as a Tyson Foods Meals that Matter Hero—part of the company’s pledge to invest $50 million in cash and in-kind donations by 2020 to fight hunger, with a special focus on local initiatives.
White founded Culinary Care in 2013 at the age of 23. Since then, she and the organization’s dedicated supporters have delivered more than 4,800 ready-to-eat meals to cancer patients and their families—all part of their effort to fight malnutrition, which is the direct cause of one in five cancer deaths.
“When my father was undergoing cancer treatments, people brought meals to my family every day for weeks. Those meals were more than just food; they were a chance for my family to be together and enjoy each other,” said White, who lost her father to lung cancer in 2006. “The mission of Culinary Care is to provide that support to families who may not otherwise receive it and to give them one less thing to worry about during this tremendously difficult time.”
Through a network of partnerships with 20 area restaurants and six area hospitals, cancer patients can order a family meal much in the same way they would order a pizza, but the meal is free of charge. After being referred to Culinary Care by an employee of a partner hospital, patients may order meals from menus specially developed for the specific dietary needs of someone undergoing cancer treatment. The Culinary Care team then delivers the meal directly to the patient at the hospital during or after their treatment.
“The meals provided by Culinary Care are truly meals that matter. Courtney’s tireless work and personal dedication to helping others has made a real impact in the lives of so many families,” said Sara Lilygren, executive vice president, corporate affairs at Tyson Foods. “Courtney exemplifies what it means to be a Meals that Matter Hero, and Tyson Foods is honored to support Culinary Care as it expands to nourish even more families.”
To help Culinary Care expand its efforts, Tyson awarded the nonprofit a $60,000 grant to secure a full-time employee. This support will ensure that Culinary Care continues to reach patients and their families.
“It’s just been a real blessing for our family,” said Tanya Villarreal, one of Culinary Care’s clients. “Just knowing, as a mom, that when I am at chemo, my family and I are going to have a good meal. It’s been something special for us and for many other families.”
If you’d like to nominate a Meals That Matter Hero in your community, click here.