Molly Pier says she founded nonprofit Project Chicken Soup to give meaning to the short life of her late son Nathaniel, who died of AIDS, reports Los Angeles Times.
Nathaniel Pier was a doctor, who in New York City in the 1980s was among the first private physicians to treat people with HIV and AIDS. He was 37 when he died in 1989.
Pier, 91, says the organization which provides kosher meals for people throughout Los Angeles County living with HIV or AIDS, has become a link not only to her son but to hundreds of others. Piers cofounded Project Chicken Soup in 1989 and has seen the group evolve from a few volunteers to dozens who gather twice a month in a kosher kitchen in Culver City to cook for more than a hundred people.
Volunteers deliver grocery bags filled with salads, desserts, side dishes, three entrees, and two quarts of soup, one of which is always chicken and all of the food is kosher. Pier uses her own recipes for many of the desserts. "I feel I have a spiritual connection with [Nathaniel] because he did everything he knew how with his medical knowledge, and I'm doing it with my cooking knowledge," she said.
Pier calls clients to make sure they will be home when the food is scheduled to be delivered and says the phone conversations are often about more than just dinner.
"Sometimes, they're lonely, sometimes they're upset or not feeling well and just need an ear," Pier says. "I'm kind of the resident Jewish grandmother."