On November 8, 2021, Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona (MMSA) purchased their first building, located at 3355 S. 6th Avenue in Tucson. Upon renovation, the building will house the nonprofit’s regional headquarters and new MMSA Kitchen.
With the purchase comes a transformed business model. Fully equipped with a commercial kitchen, the organization will prepare its own food for the first time in its 50+ year history.
Demand for the agency’s services grew significantly during the COVID-19 response: MMSA now serves more than 100,000 meals to more than 800 people annually – almost twice the number of people compared to 2019. Increased demand for services and the desire to offer menu choice required a shift to meet community need and anticipated future demand. The new MMSA Kitchen will have capacity to serve up to 1,600 meals daily and more than 400,000 meals each year, fueling an expansion of service throughout Pima, Santa Cruz, and Cochise counties.
The transformation is the vision of the Board, in partnership with its new CEO, Robert Jensen, former CEO of eegee’s, who knows a thing or two about restaurant start-up and expansion.
“Mobile Meals has always been in the business of delivering freshly prepared special diet and regular meals. The ability to source and prepare our own food will go a long way to meeting community need and gives clients the opportunity to have menu options, culturally unique meals, and expanded services,” says Jensen.
When the new MMSA Kitchen opens in May 2022, freshly prepared meals will still be delivered Monday through Friday, in all the special and regular diet options currently offered. In addition, clients will be able to expand their orders for holidays and weekends.
“The board’s focus is to passionately protect our mission. By expanding our ability to serve, and focusing on sustainability and growth, we can now help feed even more people in our community fresh, nutritious food,” stated board president Leslie Perls.
A grand opening & ribbon cutting ceremony is slated for May 2022. MMSA will launch a special fundraising campaign to cover the costs of the kitchen renovation.