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Livermore's Culinary Angels Deliver Meals With Love To Those In Need

LIVERMORE (CBS SF) -- A Livermore woman who survived breast cancer is bringing healing and hope through food to people who are battling serious illnesses.

Lisa McNaney and her volunteers prepare delicious, nourishing meals for adults with serious medical needs and their caregivers.

They call themselves Culinary Angels. Lisa founded the nonprofit that shares the name in 2016.

"We deliver hope free of charge to Livermore, Dublin and Pleasanton," she said.

From the industrial kitchen at First Presbyterian Church in Livemore, volunteers have lovingly cooked 5,200 meals in four years. They serve 300 people a month.

McNaney said 95 percent of meal recipients are undergoing cancer treatment, like Robin Piazza's husband. The couple signed up for Culinary Angels a few months ago.

"My husband hadn't eaten a whole meal in two months because of chemo," Piazza said.

That changed with the first delivery.

"He ate the whole thing and I was shocked," she said.

McNaney says they're not just feeding the body, but also the spirit.

"We're strangers to them but there is so much love sprinkled into every meal," said McNaney.

In fact, each delivery package is labeled, "Made with love."

The menu on this day includes stuffed chicken breast, meatless loaf, with cauliflower gravy, vegetable sides and soups like bone broth.

Head chef Claudia Castillo Holley uses organic produce from local gardens at Fertile Groundworks and Sunflower Hill.

She partners with McNaney to create nourishing food to build the immune system and fight cancer.

"The fact that she created this opportunity for essentially these vulnerable individuals to have this experience is such a gift," Castillo Holley.

Culinary Angels runs on 160 volunteers and private donations.

Volunteer John Carter credits McNaney's positive approach as executive director.

"I don't know where she gets her energy, but she's nonstop," Carter said.

McNaney explained how she approaches serving Culinary Angels' clients.

"You need to trust in something that is going to get you through it, and we're hoping that we can be those little angels that come and keep you going," she said.

Culinary Angels will soon move to a new kitchen at Sunflower Hill Garden at Irby Ranch in Pleasanton. It will expand to serve meals to developmentally-challenged adults who live there.

So for feeding delicious, nourishing food to those battling serious illnesses and their caregivers, this week's Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Lisa McNaney.

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