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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Ceres Community Project

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Food, Health, Health Support, Nutrition

Mission: We create health for people, communities and the planet through love, healing food and empowering the next generation. Key facets of our approach include: ♥ Supporting individuals dealing with serious illness with free, delivered and nutrient-rich prepared meals, nutrition education, and a community of caring. ♥ Involving young people as volunteer gardeners and chefs, giving them direct, hands-on experience of the difference that fresh, healthy foods and community make, and of their own capacity to contribute. ♥ Educating the broader community, including health professionals, about the connection between fresh, healthy food, strong social networks, healing and wellness. ♥ Connecting people of all ages and from all walks of life to one another, and to their value as an integral part of the community.

Results: More than 2,400 young people have received over 75,000 hours of learning and mentoring in our three kitchens in Sonoma and Marin counties. 3,500 families in health crisis, most of them very low-income, have been nourished with 550,000 healing meals and a community of caring, often making long-term changes to their diets to help them stay healthy. Ceres has trained 13 additional communities to replicate the Healing Meals model across the country, and reached millions of people with information on the connection between food and the health of individuals and the environment that sustains us.

Target demographics: Create health for people, communities and planet, through love, healing food and empowering the next generation

Direct beneficiaries per year: 642 families facing a health crisis like cancer with free and low-cost, delivered healing meals. 437 teens gained job, leadership and life skills, and discovered their power to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors.

Geographic areas served: Sonoma, Marin and Alameda counties (California)

Programs: Healing Meals Program, Teen Chef & Gardener Program, Teen Leader Program

Community Stories

127 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Kathy Huber H.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ceres Community Project is beyond just an important and beloved local organization providing nutritious meals for those suffering from life-altering illnesses. They are also serving as a model and leading advocate for "food as medicine", an exciting national movement that is working with health care insurers, providers and hospitals to explore how providing targeting nutrition to patients can improve outcomes and bring down health care costs.

Additionally, by having teen volunteers be a focus in the program, they are helping to motivate a new generation to actively participate in the care and well being of others. They're an inspiration to our community and increasingly to the rest of the country (and even internationally!).

Board Member

Rating: 5

There is nothing worse than being sick and hungry. I have been a advocate for Ceres since 2016. It is a rare organization that can create better health for people, communities and the plant. They accomplish this by teaching youth in our community (about 500 teens a year) to help nourish people (over 100,000 meals) facing health crisis by growing preparing and delivering nutritious food to those with serious illnesses.

The long term impact is that as Ceres live their values, these values become part of the teens DNA and we create the next generation of leaders.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

What an amazing organization!! The impact to the community and to those individuals that we serve is significant and needed for our challenging times. A life changing mission to feed those too sick to cook or feed themselves and engage the our future generation of leaders to understand their role in contributing to a healthy community is critical to our world today.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I recently joined the Board of Ceres Community Project, and it has proven to be one of the richest community and professional experiences of my 20+ year career in public health. Ceres is a non-profit that strives for continued excellence and positively impacts the health of its clients, community, and employees. The Ceres team harnesses its collective strength to improve the health and well-being of individuals and families across Marin and Sonoma counties, with an important emphasis on providing nourishing meals to those with chronic health conditions.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ceres is an amazing organization that offers youth a place to learn about the impact nutrition has on health as well as cooking skills taught by professional chefs and then along with adult volunteers delivers healthy meals to clients who are recovering from critical illnesses. There is no other program that includes medically tailored meals, and community involvement from youth to seniors and has such a profound impact.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ceres works in Sonoma and Marin Counties, and provides about 100,000 organic meals a year for mostly low-income people who are struggling because of a health condition - primarily cancer and heart disease. The meals are made by teens – about 420 a year who receive culinary and food systems education, job training and leadership development. The teens carry these lessons and connections with their communities into their adult lives, and by following then we've learned how impactful it is. The clients receive more than a nutritious and delicious meal for their whole family, they continually tell us how important it is for them to know they have support and care from their community.
Ceres has also trained 14 communities around the US and now Denmark to replicate Ceres' model, and Ceres continues to support these organizations with education and shared resources.
Importantly, California has now begun the first statewide pilot to look at the cost savings potential and efficacy of including medically tailored meals as part of the care for patients with congestive heart failure.
This is a well-run, efficient organization that provides a valuable service to everyone concerned, and is having a broader impact in showing the importance of nutrition in healing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as a Chef Mentor at Ceres. I loved how inclusive Ceres was with their volunteers - there were volunteer appreciation events and we were always well taken care of with breaks and food during our shifts. The appreciation events were really special because Ceres shared other parts of the program w/volunteers (client speakers, teen speakers). This is where you really get to see how your time is impacting the community directly. Ceres classes were also offered to their volunteers for free. Learn and do good a the same time!

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a fabulous organization that deserves our gratitude and support. Volunteering at Ceres is such a blessing - you are a valued participant in helping those in our community in need during a difficult time in their lives, and you are surrounded by other awesome individuals with such positive energy. The staff is fabulous and the teen volunteers are amazing. Healing with food and educating us all in healthy eating, developing skills, awareness of our environment, and all done with great love. The benefits of this organization are multileveled. Ceres is the best !!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ceres is an incredible organization that serves those facing health challenges by providing them with delicious, nutritious and beautiful food. Our teens, guided by our gifted staff and adult mentors, are the heart of Ceres. They learn the importance of good nutritional choices, taking care of the earth, giving to others, kitchen skills, gardening, teamwork, leadership, and the positive impact they make in our community through their volunteer work. There are also classes for clients and the community teaching good nutrition. We have a fantastic cookbook. And beautiful, productive gardens. The impact of this work is far-reaching, life-changing and vitally important and is done with great love. It is an honor to support Ceres financially and as a volunteer.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our son learned so much about cooking and gardening trough Ceres while also gaining self confidence and learning about responsibility and helping others. What a wonderful organization to have in our community!

Dianne25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ceres was there for me when I was recovering from cancer surgery. I try to be there for them whenever I can.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am receiving good and delicious food at a time in my life when I don't have the energy to cook. I a person who is low income I am eligible for free food programs. The difference between Ceres and and all the other programs is that all the food from Ceres is organic and not loaded with sugar as are most other prepared foods. All the food I get from Ceres supports my health. I have also been able to maintains a healthy weight while eating their food.

Client Served

Rating: 5

After 18 weeks of chemo, surgery, and 5 weeks of daily radiation, friends and co-workers gifted me several months of home-delivered, nutritious, and delicious food. I was assigned a personal helper to guide me through the process. The information provided regarding healing foods was very helpful and could easily be incorporated and integrated into my "traditional" treatment. I also appreciated that clients were always encouraged to speak with their Dr. prior to using some of the broths and teas. I was fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends throughout my treatment, but I always loved the notes, pictures, and small gifts that were included with my meals. After completing my Ceres meals, I was asked to speak to the teens and staff about my experience. So proud to have this wonderful organization in my backyard. Jill

Marlene A.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was an observer as I watched Ceres beautiful food delivered to a friend as she went through the arduous chemo treatments. She was nurtured physically & emotionally and today is a healthy woman whose diet is similar to how she learned to eat from Ceres. What a blessing Ceres is to everyone they touch..!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The impact that Ceres has, both locally and nationally, continues to increase. They focus on building community, providing healthy meals to those suffering from illnesses and they develop teens to be future leaders

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I applaud Ceres Community project and it is an honor to be part of this community. The staff are caring, thoughtful, creative and respectful of each other, clients and volunteers. The Leadership Team strives to nurture a positive, respectful and innovative culture while being excellent stewards of all financial funds received.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer and donor for Ceres. The healthy nourishing food helps those with acute illness such as cancer build strength while recovering. Ceres is the best non profit I have ever volunteered for.

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer, a donor and former client. I love the work that Ceres does and how important they have grown in the Sonoma County community.

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1 Sara161

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ceres has my heart. They helped my Mom when she was undergoing treatment! I volunteer there once a week and enjoy every minute I am there.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with Ceres for over a year now. I love Ceres and the work they do. My Mother was a client with Ceres and received healing meals for 6 months while she was building her health back up after a treatment that left her weak. Being a part of the magic that happens at Ceres is the greatest gift and is rewarding in a way that is indescribable. I am grateful beyond measure.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

It's been a privilege to serve on the Board of Ceres for the last 4 years. I have volunteered and served on the boards of several nonprofits including national organizations and none have been run better than Ceres. Under Cathryn Couch's leadership Ceres has grown from a small summer project to wonderful organization, changing lives not just here in Sonoma County, but now spreading across the country. Ceres is mission driven and the heart of mission is improving and connecting community both on the near term and for the long game. There is no doubt of the impact of delivering healthy, nutrious food to those dealing with acute medical illness, but perhaps more subtle but no less important is the impact to our community when we empower our youth to make positive changes in their own lives and to the communities where they live. That is a benefit we will reap for generations.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I learned about Ceres several years ago, and was incredibly impressed by the work they do serving people in the midst of a health crisis, creating community connections and empowering young people. The work Ceres does became even more meaningful when I was going through cancer treatment myself, and realized how debilitating and demoralizing the process can be. Ceres is there to provide healthy delicious meals to people when they need it most -- regardless of their ability to pay. It's an incredible organization with a big heart, and a strong, smart, effective management team and staff. Our community is so lucky to have Ceres!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm honored to be a board member of Ceres Community Project and am impressed with each interaction I have with the staff, volunteers, and community served. The impact this organization is making makes me proud to be a small part of creating an ecosystem of empowered youth creating and serving healing foods. Ceres Community Project is making a huge difference in our community and is a model for food as medicine.

Joya H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Ceres for over 4 years, known many friends and community members who have been clients, receiving healthy, delicious meals made with love by our teen volunteers. Ceres has something for everybody to do, in the kitchen, garden or office. It is a joy and a rich learning experience for everyone. Ceres has the most integrity and respect of any the many volunteer organizations I've been involved with. And we have a lot of fun working as a team.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a former staff member, moving on to further my career was less hard because I knew I'd be welcomed back as a volunteer. But seeing things from the other side is quite beautiful. The appreciation you receive as a volunteer, the comraderie you can feel with other volunteers, and the knowledge that you are making changes in the world are all quite moving. I only wish I had more time (and money) to give!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We were one of Ceres first clients when my husband had cancer. In the decade since, both of my sons have worked as teen volunteers in the kitchen, garden and catering events. I have done some volunteering and taken nutritional cooking classes. We support several nonprifits, but Ceres is my favorite. I know from these many perspectives, the deep integrity of this organization, as well as the brilliance of its design--powerfully changing the lives of those who are ill and their families, as well as those teens and adults who serve and experientially learn so much about healthy eating and cooking, teamwork, and the ability to make a positive difference in the world. Supporting Ceres uplifts my heart.