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The SOS Kitchen's Nutritional Standards

The SOS Callahan Community Kitchen was opened in May 2018, in Key West, Florida, with the goal of preparing and distributing daily fresh meals for those in need. Just shy of four years later, our kitchen staff prepares more than 72,000 meals annually, and our organization is proud to highlight the nutritional value they offer!

Because the meals being prepared at our Community Kitchen are provided to individuals in federal nutrition programs, each meal must meet certain nutritional requirements. For example, our Senior Nutrition Program meals contain five components: protein, grain, fruit, vegetable, and milk. Together these meal components must account for 1/3 of the Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) of the major 13 nutrients, such as iron, zinc, and magnesium, for a female over the age of 70. Specialized software is used to analyze each meal and ensure that it meets 1/3 of the DRI for a 70+ female and specific sodium limitations. Furthermore, SOS prioritizes the use of fresh produce for our meals, even though some canned or pre-prepared fruits and vegetables are compliant with federal nutrition program standards.

Meals prepared for individuals of our federal Child Nutrition Programs must also contain the five meal components: protein, grain, fruit and vegetable, and milk. These components are key in creating well-rounded and consistent meals. By providing healthy, varied meals for our child nutrition program, SOS aims to not only improve short- and long-term health, but also to introduce children to new foods and encourage healthy eating patterns from a young age.

By utilizing these federal programs, SOS is able to help promote the sustainability of our Community Kitchen and nutritious meals for years to come. Preparing this number of meals each day with fresh ingredients is very time-consuming, and our dedicated volunteers are a pivotal component of our success at the Community Kitchen. We could not do what we do without them!

Interested in volunteering? Visit!

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