Stronger Together: The Suppers Programs Contributes to PACF COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund (September 2020)
From Sept. 23 Press Release
When schools and businesses in Princeton and surrounding communities started closing their doors earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marion Reinson, Executive Director of The Suppers Programs, began looking for ways the organization could better support the community during this unprecedented time.
“As an organization that is focused primarily on educating people on ways to cook and eat whole food to support their health and help prevent disease, we saw an urgent, unfulfilled need in our community that was directly aligned with our mission and vision,” said Reinson.
Beginning in March, the organization’s board decided that a percentage of all donations made in support of its virtual programming and webinars would be shared 50/50 with the Princeton Area Community Foundation’s (PACF) COVID Relief & Recovery Fund. This special fund was created to provide support to community organizations actively engaged in addressing critical issues like food and housing insecurity, reduced and lost income, child care and behavioral and mental health needs.
“We know that we can help people improve their health if they have access to a few basics: access to healthy, whole food ingredients and a place to cook and have a seat at a table. We felt the need to support people in this way,” said Reinson.
In total, Suppers was able to provide more than $1,200 dollars to PACF’s COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund.
“We appreciate the importance of supporting each other during this unprecedented time,” said Fiona Capstick, Suppers Board President. “Sharing our organization’s fundraising with the COVID-19 Relief Fund is aligned with our values as an organization, as we feel it helps those among us who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. A heartfelt thank you to our Suppers community for taking part in this meaningful contribution."
For more information about PACF’s COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund, click here.
A Seat at the Table (June 2020)
It took some time to write this note. To say that we are living in uncertain times with a pandemic and great unrest across our nation is a drastic understatement. Yet, in spite of the threat of transmitting a deadly virus, Americans and people around the world are still demonstrating against racial injustice and police brutality in unprecedented numbers. In small towns and big cities alike, people are giving voice to the grief and anger that generations of black Americans have suffered at the hands of an unjust system. We imagine that if the threat of the virus was not upon us, we would see exponentially greater numbers of peaceful demonstrators.
It is horrifying that George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and too many others all lost their lives – because they were Black.
The combination of grief, anger and determination is a powerful thing. In the past, America has made attempts to change – we’ve changed laws, we’ve changed leaders – it’s time to change minds. It’s time to work on opening minds to the understanding that a race of people cannot be superior or inferior – we are all human. There is much work to be done before we can finally secure lasting change.
At Suppers, we are all too aware that it’s people of color who are disproportionately affected by chronic disease including Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, Alzheimer’s Disease and Obesity. And, the Covid-19 pandemic has amplified the disparities across minority populations due to food deserts and lack of adequate access to health care and health education.
Our mission is to prevent and reduce the impact of chronic disease while addressing these health disparities. We know that this is not an easy task and requires commitment on everyone’s part. Deeply rooted in the Suppers’ culture is the importance of providing an environment of nonjudgement when it comes to a person’s relationship with food; as we believe it is difficult for a person to learn, heal and grow when they feel judged.
Some programs are in place, but we know we need to do more.
We are committed to continue having conversations and explore ways to further support minority communities – sharing information about the importance of healthy eating and fueling your body and your brain – by eating real food. It is our goal to bring as many people as possible to the table – to meet, cook, eat and learn.
At Suppers, we feel that good health should be accessible to all and everyone should have a seat at the table.
Black Lives Matter.
Marion Reinson, Executive Director, and the Suppers Board of Trustees: Karen Baldino, Adi Benito, Kim Booker, Fiona Capstick, Herb Mertz, Karen Rose Tank
An Update from Our Executive Director (November 2019)
Dear Friends of Suppers,
I sometimes enjoy a rainy day -- that is, if I get to stay home. It gives me time to slow down and reflect. During my time reflecting this past Sunday morning, I realized that we’ve been so busy making plans and running Suppers that we haven’t been keeping you up to date. The list below is some of what we’ve been up to; please know that we are grateful for your interest in Suppers.
The Suppers Programs
Signature Suppers Meetings: We take a practical approach; cooking and guiding people in the kitchen to learn how easy it can be to prepare whole, delicious, healthy food. And, we’re pleased to say that we are running almost 20 Signature Suppers meetings each month. Several are held at The Suppers Kitchen and most others are held in people’s homes and places of worship around Central Jersey. For those of you familiar with Suppers, we’re calling the regular “meal-centered” meeting a “Signature Meeting.” These meetings are scripted, and peer-led by trained volunteer facilitators. We make every effort to keep these meetings affordable so that more people may have a seat at the table. Pricing for these Signature Meetings has been unchanged. The price covers the cost of the ingredients plus one dollar per plate to go to Suppers. Meetings average $12-$20 per person depending on the menu and number of guests. More people, lower cost per plate.
A Home for Suppers -- The Kitchen in Skillman: With Dorothy’s diagnosis came the reality that we no longer have access to Dorothy’s home, free of charge, to hold meetings and workshops. Through the generosity of Dor’s friend, Jenny Hartshorne, we have moved into an interim home at what used to be the Blawenburg Café. Rent is not charged, but we do cover expenses and investments in the start-up of this operation. As this location is temporary, we are going to initiate a search for A Home for Suppers shortly. We are SO grateful to have been given access to this space for holding meetings, programs and workshops.
Hands-On Workshops and Educational Presentations: We follow the “teach a person to fish” philosophy of addressing health concerns. These programs are informed by the latest research and carefully designed where participants learn by doing (and, of course, tasting). We are building the schedule for the next few months. These workshops give participants the opportunity to learn, cook and taste the subject matter. Cost averages $50 and this covers the instructor and high quality materials with a minor amount left for Suppers. Note: Most workshops break even with eight participants. We can only run workshops if we have enough participants to cover our costs.
A Taste of Suppers: Tasting is believing. Which is why one of our priorities is to get more of these introductory programs on our (and your) calendar. Dates and locations to be announced.
Update on Dor: The question many of you have is, “How is Dorothy?” True to form, Dorothy is powering through and sharing information about her personal approach to dying -- so that others may learn from her experience. A visit with her on Sunday showed that Dor is slowing down significantly. However, she’s continuously writing and has installed bird feeders at her windows so that if she cannot get outside to see the birds, the birds can come to her --and they do.
The Fund for Suppers -- Help us to “Honor the Inspiration”: We are preparing to launch our Annual Fund Campaign, "Honor the Inspiration," so that we can continue the groundbreaking work of Dorothy Mullen and provide for the Future of Suppers. We no longer have the luxury of having an organization run by a founder who did not take compensation, nor did she charge for the use of her home. The Fund for Suppers will enable us to continue and grow and support the commitment to training facilitators, and maintaining a staff and location. We are seeking donations, partnerships and grants to support The Suppers Programs’ mission to continue to provide these life-changing meetings, workshops and events.
Suppers Welcomes a New Leadership Team (October 2019)
We are pleased to welcome Fiona Capstick (pictured right) as our new President of the Board and Marion Reinson (pictured left) as our new Executive Director. The two have been working tirelessly to build a path forward for Suppers. Fiona brings great depth of knowledge to Suppers from the practitioner side with more than 25 years’ experience in health care, in both acute and chronic settings. She practiced as a Registered Nurse in her native country, England, and in Australia as a Diabetes Nurse Consultant, Educator, and Clinical Study Coordinator through the University of Sydney. She is a graduate of Duke Integrative Medicine Health Coaching Program and has her own health coaching practice working with clients on behavior change. Capstick has served on the Board of Trustees for the past two years as Vice President and also facilitates a Signature Suppers meeting.
Marion brings a structured approach to an organization that has been operating for almost 15 years through the tremendous efforts of Suppers’ Founder Dorothy Mullen. Everything she has learned and worked on over the past 25 years has prepared her to run a nimble organization like Suppers. Marion has operated her own business consulting practice, To The Point, LLC, since 2004. Her expertise lies in designing business growth and marketing strategies, and defining precisely outlined outcomes. Marion fell in love with The Suppers Programs after attending the Garden Workshop Series, and then became a member of the Board of Trustees. For the past two years, has been working with Dor pro bono on developing a sustainable and fundable strategic plan for Suppers, a plan that will ensure that it thrives beyond the support of Dor.
Suppers Has a Temporary New Home! (September 2019)
Thanks to the tremendous generosity of Jenny Hartshorne, Suppers now has a place to call home. We are now running Signature Meetings and Workshops out of our commercial kitchen at the former Blawenburg Cafe on the corner of 518 and 601 (Great Road). Want to check out the new space? Sign up for one of our innovative Suppers Workshops! Everything from Green Cleaning to Flavor Balancing, Teas & Tinctures, Healthy Holiday Cooking, Dairy Alternatives and Cashew Mastery!
In Partnership with The Princeton Public Library, Suppers hosts End of Life: Plannning is Everything! (August 2019)
This end-of-life literacy event featured spokespeople with messages regarding palliative and hospice care, estate planning, our legal rights as of August 1 under the New Jersey’s Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill act, and how to prepare ourselves and our loved ones.
Dor Mullen Honored at Board of Educaton Meeting for Her Impact on Princeton Public Schools (July 2019)
At the July BOE meeting for Princeton Public Schools, Board Members Jess Deutsch and Beth Behrend made a proclamation of gratitude to Dor Mullen, highlighting the endless ways she has positively impacted the school district and beyond. A fully packed room listened as Ms. Deutsch and Ms. Behrend shared the Board's sentiments, including "Dorothy Mullen's service at Riverside [Elementary School] has inspired the growth of garden education in public and private schools throughout Princeton, New Jersey and the Northeast" and "Dorothy Mullen has wholeheartedly shared her vision, expertise and time with educators, parents, students and community members." A short Public Comment section followed; the first community member to speak emotionally expressed her feelings: "Dorothy Mullen. How you feel is data. And there are at least 100 people in this room who feel really wonderful today because they know you. So thank you. You have influenced so many lives with your passion and your zeal and your energy, and words fail me after that." Click here to see the video recording of the BOE meeting.
Suppers Hosts Its 6th Annual Founder's Day Event (June 2019)
It was a bittersweet moment when our 6th Founder's Day celebration evolved into a festive transition to new leadership for Suppers. Our friends Carlo and Raoul Momo hosted the event at Eno Terra, which was attended by double the typical number of celebrants. "It's amazing how stage 4 cancer increases the attendance at one's Founder's Day celebration," Dor said, inviting everyone into a fullness of feeling that marked the entire evening. Lee Yonish, Interim Executive Director, gave the opening remarks; the event featured three speakers whose lives were transformed by the program; and Dor shared the origination story. Board and staff listened closely as guests shared their hopes and plans for Suppers, including an eventual bricks and mortar for our organization, with a garden that will be seeded by Dor's "mother garden." Everyone was heartened by the conversations centered around supporting Suppers and figuring out how to best fund the future. (Pictured above: Dorothy Mullen with two of her children, Claire Mullen and Max Mullen)
"Taste of Suppers" Celebrate Herbs and Spices (March 2019)
The Seventh Annual Taste of Suppers hosted herbalist and documentary film maker, Tish Streeten (pictured left), and Integrative Health and Nutrition Coach, Jenna Richardson (pictured right), for a Celebration of Herbs and Spices. Following their presentations, 30 volunteer cooks (thanks!) shared Suppers-friendly tastes: herbed almond flatbreads; frittata with Bengali spices; slaws, chickpeas and salads all dolled up with healing herbs and delicious spices; quinoa and roasted vegetables provided by Mediterra; and a wide range of Tulsi teas donated by Tish and the Whole Earth Center.
Suppers Holds Inaugural Event in Trenton (March 2019)
Suppers launches in Trenton at Bethany House of Hospitality. New programs in Princeton, Lawrenceville, and Trenton are starting now. They are supported by a grant from the Cottonwood Foundation and donors who want to promote the engagement of minorities in Suppers. Facilitator: Kim Booker. Hosts: Christina Heimann of Isles and Pastor Karen Hernandez-Granzen of Westminster Presbyterian Church. Look for us this season at the Trenton Farmers Market.
Suppers and NOFA-NJ Host Their Second Annual "Sourcing Health Locally" (September 2018)
For the second year in a row, a sold-out crowd gathered to hear about the close connections between the food system and the healthcare system. Farmers, eaters, cooks, health advocates and medical practitioners came together to discuss how food sourcing can affect the course of one's life. Keynote speaker, Kathleen DiChiara (pictured above), presented her compelling story about the "secret ingredients" that were making her family sick, which led her to transition from a high-level career at a Fortune 500 company to a career as a Functional Nutrition Practitioner with specialized training in biochemistry and individual diets for chronic conditions. A special thanks goes to The Foundation for Airway Health and all of the sponsors for this day-long event.
Suppers' Garden Hosts Its First Chef's Tour (August 2018)
Eno Terra Head Chef Coby Farrow led a chef's tour of the Suppers garden at Dor's house. He described his process of creating a green goddess salad dressing with whatever Nature makes available now: rosemary, chives, and lemon basil (plus avocado, olive oil, and a light vinegar). Also, Chef Allie O'Brien taught Suppers garden program participants to make sugarless peach jam and peach gazpacho.
Princeton University Student Covers Suppers for her Senior Journalism Project (May 2018)
Thanks to PU Senior, Cindy Liu, for spending some time with Suppers this spring and producing both this excellent piece, "Fighting Sugar with a Knife," and this wonderful video (click on the photo below) about the program!
The Princeton Public Library Hosts the Sixth Annual Taste of Suppers: Motivating Healthy Change (March 2018)
Suppers welcomed Dr. Mark Woodford, a licensed professional counselor from The College of New Jersey, for this fascinating evening about behavior change. When our efforts to help ourselves or loved ones change unhealthy behaviors backfire, it may be because we have false assumptions about how to support the change process. Dr. Woodford presented the fundamental truths about change processes and introduced the principles of Motivational Interviewing (MI), which is a model used in public health and addictions counseling to help people whose improvement requires behavior change. Of course, attendees sampled delicious Suppers food after the lecture and role-play demonstration.
Farmer physician Ron Weiss, MD of Ethos Farm Presents at Our Community Partner, Sante Integrative Pharmacy (February 2018)
In his presentation, "Ten Reasons to Go Plant Based," Dr. Weiss discussed the benefits and answered personal questions about nutrition, health and life on the country’s first working farm-based medical practice. Dr. Weiss shared his experiences and presented evidence demonstrating how changing to a plant-based diet and lifestyle can not only optimize our health but also help to prevent and reverse aging. Dr. Weiss is a botanist, board-certified internist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. He is founder of Ethos Health in Long Valley, NJ.
"Soulful Sunday Suppers" Launches (February 2018)
Women come together for a new meeting, "Soulful Sunday Suppers," to create a Suppers that supports them in their healthy lifestyle choices. African Americans are at greater risk for many of the chronic illnesses that whole foods can help reverse. Some of our members started this new meeting for women who want support living in their intentions for healthy eating and strategizing how to get loved ones to participate.
A HUGE Thanks to CHOPT for Partnering With Suppers for "Chopt Gives" (November 2017)
Chopt Creative Salad Co., for its grand opening at the Princeton Shopping Center on November 6, chose The Suppers Programs as its charitible partner for the day. During both lunch and dinner, guests received a complimentary salad with any monetary donation to Suppers. Impressively, the new Chopt location served almost 400 delicious salads without a hitch. Suppers is grateful to have a new partner in the community.
Suppers Partners with NOFA-NJ to Bring Day-Long "Sourcing Health Locally" Event to Princeton, NJ (September 2017)
A sold-out room of 150 people gathered on Sunday, September 10 at the Suzanne Patterson Building to listen to health practitioners and farmers collaboratively examine key questions that are relevant to both health care and agricultural practices. A letter to Town Topics from a local doctor who attended the event underscores its success: "... what we eat and how our food is raised matters as much (if not more) to our health as having a top-notch health care system. What an ingenious idea to bring farmers and physicians together to address our most stubborn health issues... I would like to express my gratitude to our hosts for creating this inspired forum..."
Spring Vegan Cleanse Begins (April 2017)
In the spring of 2017, Macrobiotic Suppers facilitator Pat Palmer (pictured above) and Dor Mullen organized a seven-day vegan cleanse. This video (separated into Part 1 and Part 2) is the introductory description of the cleanse given at the Whole Earth Center in Princeton. Instead of fasting, this cleanse was about eating only raw vegetables and fruits for up to a week. Participants get delicious nutriments throughout the day, including juices, smoothies and salads. A supporting web site and moderated Facebook group were used in the first sponsored cleanse, and are still available to those who would like to try this type of cleanse in the future. This talk provided details about:
- which vegetables may be difficult to digest in raw form (some may surprise you!)
- how to prepare
- sample menus
- possible effects (easy and otherwise)
- variations for people with special concerns or intolerances, and
- how to get and share support with others during the experiment.
Masala Suppers Launches (February 2017)
This new Suppers group is made up mostly of American and European women who love Indian food and Indian women who enjoy sharing what they know. At each meeting someone will demonstrate a preparation -- either Indian or American fare. Suppers uses exclusively unprocessed food in our meals. There is no wheat or sugar, only fresh, mostly organic vegetables and some locally sourced protein for those who want eggs or meat.
Taste of Suppers at the Princeton Public Library Features Speakers on Blood Sugar and Diabetes (December, 2016)
Delicious solutions to managing blood sugar, that was the theme of Suppers' largest event this year, the fifth annual Taste of Suppers at the Princeton Public Library. Dr. Maria (Adi) Benito-Herrero presented on how to preserve function at every stage of diabetes. Two Suppers members, Karen Rose Tank and Janet Zondag, shared with great candor and humor their journeys with diabetes and food. Twenty volunteer cooks -– mostly Suppers facilitators –- filled our plates with the food that provides delicious solutions to managing your blood sugar, ranging from raw vegan to Paleo fare.
Dor Presents at the AAPMD's Annual Airway Summit (September 2016)
What's new at Suppers is collaboration! Dor Mullen, Suppers Founder, was invited to speak at the annual conference of the American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry in Tucson, Arizona. She had to do a crash course in "airway health" -- which involves everything patients, doctors and dentists need to do to keep us breathing optimally. You might wonder what that has to do with Suppers. Interestingly, whenever you see children with ADHD that's driven by poor breathing, or adults with apnea, or anyone who experiences obstructed breathing for any reason, they almost always end up addicted to carbohydrates! Hence the invitation to Dor to talk about how Suppers supports behavior change, especially around eating. Suppers shared space with its friends, Jacqui Bishop and Lisa Feiner, founders of Sharp Again Naturally (pictured below with Dor). SAN provides educational materials for our Suppers meeting focused on brain health.
Taste of Suppers at the Princeton Public Library Draws a Record Crowd for "Food Immunity" Panel (December, 2015)
Thanking the tax payers of Princeton for the use of the Princeton Public Library community room, Dorothy Mullen welcomed around 150 people to an evening of talks about cancer and tastes of foods that support the immune system. Mullen said, "Our purpose was to introduce the community to deliciously applied science," and noted that her organization seeks to re-establish home cooking as a critical point of a health-promoting lifestyle. "When food drives disease, food has to be part of the solution too," Mullen added. Thirty volunteers donated foods matched to the theme of the presenters, recipes made from fresh, mostly organic ingredients. The public was invited to taste everything and join the growing local movement of people who take delicious home food preparation very seriously.
Suppers' Value as "Applied Science" is Recognized by the Institute for Responsible Nutrition (December 2015)
Following a visit last week by Wolfram Alderson, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition (IRN), Suppers received the following endorsement: "I want you to know that The Suppers Programs is one of the best examples of applied science I have ever seen. The scientific method is basically defined as a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data is gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from this data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested." Alderson remarked that finding Suppers was like finding the Holy Grail of the real food movement, a program that delivers diet and lifestyle change that people with metabolic disease find so elusive.
In October, IRN had called out Suppers as an example of "solving for food system change." And: "There are various models for creating food system change –- business models, organizational models, academic models, etc. The Suppers Programs champions the community model –- eschewing approaches that monetize change." The IRN (now merged with Eat REAL®) was founded by Robert Lustig, MD, whose viral YouTube video, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" has over 6,000,000 views.
Suppers is Awarded the "Healthy Food Community Friends Award" (November/December 2015)
In honor of American Diabetes Month, the ADA's Diabetes Forecast magazine published a short list of organizations and individuals who are fighting to stop diabetes "through access to healthful food and nutrition education." The Suppers Programs received this honor among roughly a dozen recipients! Facilitator Karen Rose Tank: "We bring recipes on paper to life, thus empowering participants to make these low-carb, blood sugar–stabilizing recipes on their own at home.” Read more on Diabetes Forecast's web site or in its print magazine.
Suppers Launches its Blog, The Purple Apron (November 2015)
Dor Mullen, Suppers Founder, and her accomplice, Chef Allie O'Brien, have come together to welcome you to virtual Suppers meetings through a blog, The Purple Apron. Here you'll find inspiring stories plus recipes, cooking instructions and beautiful photos to go along with them. Members will be sharing their experiments on finding the right or wrong foods for them. You, too, can pass along to us your stories of success, failure, and kitchen dreams and nightmares.
Press Release (November 2015)
Central Jersey's Suppers Programs: Just What the Doctor Ordered: Program Wins Award from American Diabetes Association, Survey Reveals Participants Follow Healthier Lifestyles
PRINCETON, NJ -- As the nation becomes increasingly focused on healthy lifestyles, hundreds of people in Central New Jersey are living healthier lives, thanks to The Suppers Programs, a grassroots organization promoting healthy cooking... Read full press release.
Suppers Announces Results from its Member Survey (September, 2015)
From its first-ever member survey, Suppers was pleased to learn that its mission and priciples are resonating with members, as more than two-thirds of respondents said they joined the program to improve overall health through learning to cook within a non-judgmental and supportive environment. To learn more about what Suppers members reported in this study, see our Special Edition newsletter that details its findings.