Nonagenarians from Elmhurst and Jamaica are enjoying great service from God’s Love We Deliver, an organization that delivers balanced high-quality nutritional meals to its clients living with severe illnesses across the city.
Agnes Harrison, 98, who resides in St. Albans, partially paralyzed after suffering a stroke, and Herbert DeCordova 91, who lives in Elmhurst with congestive heart failure, both enjoy the delicious meals delivered to their homes twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday. Their favorite meal, they say, is the “delicious pork chops.”
“I like the chicken and fish, but I don’t bother too much with the vegetable soup,” said Harrison, who has been a part of the program since 2015. “The chicken is not bad, it’s good.”
With so many different meals, DeCordova, a former chef and musician who still enjoys playing the drums, says he never knows what to expect when the next delivery arrives at his doorstep.
“I like the modifications of soup and it’s like a surprise, and then when it comes to dinner, their pork is quite wonderful and quite a few meatball dishes. It’s very nice,” DeCordova said. “The service is fabulous with lovely people doing a fine job for a great cause.”
Begun as an HIV/AIDS service organization, today God’s Love provides meals for people living with more than 200 individual diagnoses. The organization cooks and home delivers the specific, nutritious meals — free of charge — for their clients who suffer from severe illnesses. All clients have access to unlimited nutrition counseling.
The medically-tailored meals are designed by the registered dietitian nutritionists and an executive chef of God’s Love to address each client’s diagnosis, symptoms, medication management and side effects.
“Every client speaks with a nutritionist at the beginning of the program about a nutritional meal plan,” said Lisa Zullig, director of Nutrition Services. “The meals that we serve are well balanced and everything we send is low sodium and heart healthy. Majority of our clients are over 60 and we make sure people are eating to maintain their health. The meals are also created to address the unique needs of older adults like changes in taste, difficulty chewing or swallowing, and more. If there are certain things someone doesn’t eat, we can remove that and make modifications to individualize someone’s plan.”
God’s Love also delivers special meals during the holiday season, such as a full turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.
With the help of volunteers — more than 15,000 strong every year — God’s Love has been able to cook and deliver over 7,000 meals each weekday to neighbors in need. Volunteers work in the kitchen, deliver meals, package meals, work in the office, and help with special events, according to its website.
DeCordova was notified about God’s Love We Deliver from his son, Eric DeCordova, who worked directly with a dietician from the organization to set up his meal plan.
“It really has been wonderful. My family itself is very small, it’s just me, my dad and my wife…it’s almost as if we have been brought into another family at God’s Love We Deliver,” said DeCordova. “That there are other people out there that care about my dad and want him to eat healthy, and make a home cooked meal. God’s Love has kind of brought my dad and I into this family and have given him incredible meals that really changed his life in such a wonderful way.”
Meanwhile, Harrison, who was introduced to the program by a counselor, is looking forward to receiving her next birthday cake in celebration of her 99th birthday in March.
“I get a birthday cake every year,” Agnes said. “It’s white cake with buttercream frosting and it comes with my name on it and says, ‘Happy Birthday Agnes.’”Yes, I’m on my way to 99 and am excited.”