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April 25, 2018

Casino night to help fund Meals with a Mission


The community is invited to a casino night fundraiser on Thursday, April 26. This evening of casino games and dinner will support Meals with a Mission through St. John’s Hospital Foundation. Meals with a Mission provides meals for local cancer patients and their families.

The event will be held at the Elks Lodge at 270 W. Broadway. It begins at 5:30 pm with a cash bar, followed by dinner at 6:30 pm. The cost is $20 at the door. Children under 12 are free. All are welcome to attend.

Each year, Meals with a Mission provides approximately 400 complimentary, nourishing meals to St. John’s patients who are undergoing treatments for cancer. Meals are made using recipes from the American Cancer Institute and other cancer-specific resources and incorporating organic ingredients when possible. Patients and their families select three- to four-course meals from a menu of items.

The Elks Lodge donates the use of its commercial kitchen, where a group of 10-12 regular volunteers prepares the meals and then delivers them.

According to one patient, “I am so appreciative of these meals being delivered right to my home, as some days I am just not feeling well enough to get to the store. Thank you to the generosity of these great people who do this every week. The food has been fabulous!”

Joni Upsher, volunteer services coordinator at St. John’s Health, founded Meals with a Mission in 2015. Joni was a former restaurant owner and high school culinary arts teacher. Her husband Albert died from cancer in 2013.

Joni’s love of healthy cooking and her desire to help cancer patients inspired her to start Meals with a Mission. “This program has brought joy to the patients and the volunteers who give their time to cook every week,” said Joni. “It’s a small, but powerful, gift to everyone.”

Thanks to the dedicated volunteers and the donated kitchen space, Meals with a Mission operates with an annual budget of $4,000 to cover the cost of healthy ingredients.

To inquire about Casino Night, or to make a gift to support Meals with a Mission, please contact Mary Katherine King at 739 7517 or

Meals with a Mission is supported by the St. John’s Hospital Foundation and the St. John’s Health oncology department.

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