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Through the dark and stormy days of struggle, the seeds of something beautiful took root inside the heart of a Chicago native and she’s turned that seed into a blossoming tree providing life to those around her. Courtney White knows first hand how precious and fleeting life can be after coping with the loss of her father due to lung cancer at seventeen. During this time of need, friends and neighbors assisted in anyway they could even if it meant just cooking a meal for her and her family. “Between trips to the hospital and attending high school, there was always one thing that provided a light at the end of the each day for my family and I – the meals our friends and neighbors brought us each night. These meals gave us time to be together and helped us avoid some of the daily stresses we were facing. Looking back, this kind gesture really gave us the strength to keep moving forward,” said White in an interview via email. And with this simple gesture Culinary Care was born.

White wanted to provide the comfort of a home-cooked meal with the care of having a friend there for support to all cancer patients and their families. She wanted to deliver a sense of normalcy in their lives. So in March of 2013 she launched Culinary Care. Their mission statement reads, “Founded on the precept of providing one less worry, we partner with local restaurants to take away the added stress of cooking a meal, and give those affected by cancer time to nourish and heal.”

Culinary Care has provided over 400 free meals to qualified families and the recipients are always grateful.

“[One of our Board members Tom Willis] had signed up for his first meal delivery a few months ago and the impact of our organization could not have been made more clear. We received a request for a free meal from a social worker at one of our hospital partner locations. The family would be traveling from a distance to be with their child who was going through treatments related to cancer. Tom picked up their meal from Maggiano's, one of our local restaurant partners, and arrived at the hospital lobby with the meal the family had selected. The child's grandmother came down to pick-up the food, and upon seeing Tom with his bags of food she immediately broke down in tears -- overwhelmed with gratitude. It is moments like this that truly bring to light the impact our organization has,” said White.

Through humble beginnings, White has provided the Windy City with a wonderful service and this non-profit is looking to expand. And with cities and towns all over the country including major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Philadelphia asking them to further develop it won’t be long until Culinary Care is bringing their “comfort” food to countless more families in need.

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From the Editor
At Conscious, we are inspired by remarkable people, and so we set out to tell stories that highlight real human interactions and human dignity, and we’re calling it stories that matter. You can read more stories like this when you pick up your copy of Conscious Magazine. Subscribe today via our Conscious Shop.

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