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They're Feeding Souls

Compassion Delivered Provides Meals to Stark County residents With a Terminal or Life-threatening Illness

Article by Jacquie Mazziotta

Photography by Terry Fravel

Originally published in Canton Lifestyle

During celebrations and times of sadness, food is often the tie that binds us. A local couple has united the culinary world with compassion for those in need to bring meals to Stark County residents facing the fight of their lives.

When someone close to you learns the news of a terminal diagnosis or life-threatening
illness, good friends and family rally with messages of support, provide meals and flowers and often develop a deeper appreciation for time spent together. However, after emotions settle, people return to their daily routines and the gatherings end. The afflicted person must then continue their journey.

“The disease isn’t forgotten; it’s only gotten worse. That’s where I feel like Compassion Delivered fits into a person’s life. When everyone else has gone back to their norms and that person feels like they can’t do anything else, that’s where we come along to help,” explains Amanda Anschutz, co-founder of Compassion Delivered, a local non-profit organization.

Not only does Compassion Delivered provide meals, but the person receiving the meal has more time to rest while someone else focuses on food for them. They can use this time for recovery, rest or to spend time with family.

According to Amanda, an estimated 2,200 people are facing a terminal medical diagnosis in Stark County.

“These same 2,200 people often go to bed without a nutritious meal, don’t have the resources to shop for food, don’t have the energy to prepare a meal or, in many cases, even eat,” she says.

Amanda and her husband Daniel founded Compassion Delivered in 2017. Daniel was a culinary chef at a local country club, and Amanda has a business background. After researching various nonprofit organizations in Stark County, the couple found many organizations that support children, people on limited incomes and other circumstances, but unfortunately, there wasn’t an organization that focused on people with terminal illnesses.

“I found 14 other organizations throughout the country that provide a service like Compassion Delivered, but nothing in Ohio. All of the other organizations were founded more than 20 years ago and are located in major metropolitan cities including Atlanta, Denver and Philadelphia,” she explains.

After realizing the need, the pair met with local hospital representatives and bank personnel and determined their lives would forever change. They would dedicate their time to serving others in need. While Daniel continues to offer culinary services for private events and meal planning, he left his full-time job to focus on Compassion Delivered.

They developed a pilot program with a handful of people and began testing. A few key highlights they found included:

  • Nobody liked the peas
  • To avoid waste, meals would need to be frozen
  • Appetites of sick people vary, and freezing food would allow them to eat when they were hungry
  • People are the eyes, ears and taste buds and gave incredible feedback
  • The program was viable

“The meal is the most important piece to let people know they haven’t been forgotten. When someone has a crisis, we come along beside them. We may do this for a few weeks or even a few months. Food is medicine, and we’re still that constant person in their life,” she says.

Daniel leads a team of volunteers every Monday and prepares nutritious and low-sodium meals with fresh produce and meat from local farms. The meals are then delivered to about 50 people on Fridays. Each person receives three meals as well as soup.

The ladle and heart that represents Compassion Delivered have special meaning to Amanda. “The difference between a spoon and ladle is that you serve yourself with a spoon, and you serve many with a ladle. We are here to serve one another, and this was the first step to forming what we have today. I believe God puts us in places for reasons before we are called to that moment,” she says.

Compassion Delivered is more than high fives and hugs. Without the meals there is no program. Referrals are made through local Stark County hospital social workers and nurse navigators. Independent inquiries can be made by calling 330-575-0996. The organization is funded through donations and special fundraising events. The fifth annual Be the Change Gala will be held on Oct. 14 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Canton. For more information, visit or call 330-575-0996.

Additionally, a support group, Men of Compassion, meets monthly and is open to men who are facing any stage of grief. The group enjoys breakfast, golf or other social setting and
provides an opportunity to be around men who understand what they may be facing. “As we continue to grow, we are looking for a long-term home to not only provide meals for families but also offer a teaching kitchen to educate children about healthy eating and that maybe they can make something delicious from an unfamiliar food item found at a local food stand,” Amanda says.