StayNaked Kitchen to the Rescue

Barbara McClure, Executive Director, IMPACT of Southern AZ

Imagine having to deliver 468 meals to 78 homebound, low-income seniors in your neighborhood. Your kitchen is closed to prevent the risk of virus spread, and not one market is able to allow you to order frozen meals in such a quantity, even though you did just that the week before. That was the case the afternoon of March 19 at IMPACT, and our Program Director, Michele, was nearly in tears because she practically had exhausted every resource she had.

Time to brainstorm! At IMPACT, we are masters of finding innovative solutions. Perhaps we could order 78 large frozen lasagnas from Shamrock. Our seniors would be eating it all week, but they would not go hungry. Maybe they had frozen casseroles they supply to restaurants, or other dinner items that restaurants might reheat. Unfortunately, we could not find anything in the catalogue that would be appropriate for our seniors with limited independence.

Our most amazing Shamrock customer service representative, Nate, gave Michele a number to a new start-up company selling individual meals made in a 3,000 sq. ft. commercial kitchen. Michele looked at them online and fell in love with the food but knew their pricing was way out of a nonprofit’s budget. Still, she called and spoke to Cory, one of the owners, and explained her situation and implored him to help her in some way, any way, just this once. For seniors, the meal portion did not need to be as large. She only needed the ingredient list and nutrition information for our records, not printed on a label on each container. The boxes did not need to be biodegradable, though she loved that the food was organic, fresh, and nutritious, and that the company was environmentally conscious. Cory had to talk to his partner, Skyler, and get back to her. The clock ticked closer to IMPACT’s closing time and Michele’s stress and worry climbed.

Suddenly, she appeared in my office crying, warning me that the name of the company was going to sound really odd, but she found an unbelievable solution! This was our only hope, and not only were the owners of this company willing to take a loss to make this food for our community, they would personally deliver 468 meals to IMPACT first thing Monday morning so that our volunteers could deliver the meals by lunchtime. StayNaked Kitchen was the name of the place. At that point, who cared about the name? We said yes! These generous young men happily came to the rescue, and the food was amazing.

Cory and Skyler were so touched when they saw our website and arrived at our kitchen, they offered to do it again the following week. After all, conditions at the markets were not expected to change in the near future, so Michele would be in the same pickle by the end of the week. They decided to provide us with the 468 meals every week, until this COVID issue is over—real, true superheroes! My husband and I ordered food for our personal freezer from them the following week as a small gesture of thanks, and it is delicious. With all that is going on, it is stories like these we need to share to uplift the community. There is always a little silver lining somewhere. Thank you StayNaked Kitchen!