There is a long legacy here at The Franciscan Center. We serve our community, meeting the needs as they come through our doors. Our doors seem to always be revolving, and the needs seems to never end.

The word Dignity is painted across the lips of everyone who works and volunteers here. The hallways, kitchen, dining rooms, classrooms and meeting spaces are impregnated with a deep belief in the inherent and inviolable rights that all individuals deserve respect and ethical treatment. What has always set us apart in the minds of the community in which we serve, is that we treat them with dignity and respect. In every effort, every conversation, every act of kindness; it is delivered with dignity.

veggie2Personal dignity is something that I have always been keenly aware of.  It does not escape me that dignity is closely related to concepts like virtuerespectself-respectautonomyhuman rights, and enlightened reason. Translated into feeding the urban hungry means that it is our duty to provide meals with dignity. To us that means nutritious, balanced, seasonal, and delicious.

A few weeks back I met with a Ralph Loglisci from The Center for a Livable Future. He heads up the Meatless Monday and Healthy Monday initiative for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The reason for our meeting, of course, is to continue our course here at the Franciscan Center; to provide the healthiest meals we can to our clients. Partnering with the Center for a Livable Future is a natural progression.

prep2Ralph’s love of nutrition is infectious. It mirrors my own. In speaking with him about our clients, and the nutritional needs we are trying to meet, he shares some deep insights into why he is working toward Healthy Mondays. As American’s we usually don’t eat well. As a whole, we don’t pay attention to what goes into our bodies, where it comes from, or how it is effecting  not only who we are, our health, but the world around us.

Healthy Monday’s isn’t just about decreasing the meat intake. In fact, we believe our clients need the protein and calories. It is about being mindful about what we put in our bodies. It is about setting our intentions for the coming week. Taking a moment to meditate on the meal we are about to eat, and what benefits it will have to our minds, our physical bodies, and our spirits. It is also about understanding that the food we take in are the calories that we need to exist, and that those calories should mirror the people we want to be.

Healthy Mondays is ultimately a way to treat ourselves with dignity. Bringing the idea to The Franciscan Center means taking some time to educate our clients about the nutritional needs they have, and how being mindful about food can translate into being mindful about the other aspects of their lives. It is a way to enhance the self awareness, and to grow self-dignity within a population that is forgotten, ignored, and undervalued.

carrotfriend2We would encourage you to bring Healthy Monday into your life. Take a moment at the beginning of your week to set your intentions. Look at the choices you make for the week and how they effect your body, mind and spirit: then choose to create a healthy balanced world around you.