Krista Jones, Sparrow’s Nest Founder
This month’s Hudson Valley Hero is a Dutchess County woman who helps cancer-stricken moms by feeding their broods
When her friend, a mother of three, was diagnosed with colon cancer, Krista Jones’s immediate response was, “Let me cook them dinner.” Night after night, the Hopewell Junction resident left warm, homemade meals on the struggling family’s doorstep. Unfortunately, several more of Jones’s friends fell gravely ill soon after; comforting meals were whipped up for all of them and their families, too. “I grew up with a mother who always had hot food on the table, and I felt that was an important ritual to pass on,” she explains.
So committed was she to volunteering that in 2012, Jones, then a news director at Clear Channel, launched the Sparrow’s Nest, a nonprofit with a mission to cook and deliver meals to local moms with cancer. It wasn’t long before Jones, who ultimately ditched her broadcasting career to focus on her service initiatives, personally was preparing 40 to 50 trays of food a week in the kitchen of a local Knights of Columbus. “Moms are stubborn, forcing themselves to get out of bed and be superheroes,” she says. “This is just a simple idea that can take away the stress over what their kids are eating while they are too sick to cook. I wanted to make a difference.”
Nowadays, Jones, herself the mother of three, cooks all the meals herself in a brand-new, Health Department-approved, 25-by-20-foot kitchen. Attached to her home, the kitchen was built with the help of a $10,000 grant from department-store giant JC Penney and donated services from Rockland County-based George Stoll Construction. Her homespun dishes — like chicken chimichangas with corn-avocado salsa, stuffed peppers, and bacon-strewn pasta salad — alleviate some of the anxiety for families mired in endless doctor visits and copayments. She uses organic ingredients whenever possible. “I make everything but ziti. When you’re sick, everyone makes you a tray — and you just get so tired of it,” she says with a laugh. Every Monday, Jones — together with a dedicated team of six to eight drivers — provides two trays of food to each recipient within a 30-mile radius of Hopewell Junction. The trays are delivered for as long as the woman’s treatment keeps her off her feet, sometimes weeks, sometimes months. Says Jones, “I just want moms to know their family has a meal to sit down to.”
Meet more of our local heroes here or nominate your own below.