It’s easy to make a 2013 resolution to make healthier food choices. And for plenty of people, it’s just a matter of switching up your grocery list or not eating out as often. But for some, eating healthier—especially when you’re providing meals for a family on a limited income and with a demanding schedule—isn’t that simple. Buying wholesome, natural ingredients and finding the time to prepare them regularly can be a) expensive and b) not an option time-wise. The outcome? Pre-made, pre-packaged, or takeout meals, which are often high in calories, salt, preservatives, and convenience but low in price—and nutritional value.

That’s where Fresh Takes Kitchen (FTK) comes in. The Denver-based social entrepreneurship venture aims to make healthy, appetizing meals available to those who need them the most, when they need them the most. How? By partnering with organizations such as rec centers, after-school programs, neighborhood clubs, and other community groups to offer an affordable meal delivery/pickup program to participants. Here’s the idea: A mom who picks up two kids from the after-school recreation center program every day on her way home from work might be too tired to cook most nights. But if that rec center has partnered with FTK, she can sign up for a certain number of meals—prepared carefully to meet or exceed nutritional guidelines—per week, which she’ll grab when she collects the kids. No hassle, no cooking, no extra stops.

FTK launched this fall and just completed its first test phase with Denver’s Southwest Family YMCA, the Denver Housing Authority in Lincoln Park/La Alma, and Schmitt Elementary School. Forty households in those neighborhoods signed up and consumed more than 400 wholesome meals over six weeks; the average weekly order size almost doubled in the last two weeks of the trial phase after clients had tried the meals and tested the service. While FTK will continue partnering with the YMCA in 2013, it has its sights set on expansion with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, Revision International, and Denver Health. The goal by 2014 is to reach 750 households in the metro area with 2,500 healthy meals a week.

Get Involved: Want to bring Fresh Takes Kitchen to your community? Work for an organization that could become a good FTK partner? Learn more here.

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