Building a community of caring volunteers that provides meals to families dealing with life-threatening illness has proved to be a trouble-free task, thanks to the large number of compassionate teens and adults living in the Tri-Cities area, says Susan Leigh, co-director of the Fox Valley Food For Health Project.
Leigh points to Geneva High School culinary arts teacher Kathy Jankovic and her students to illustrate how educators and students can become involved in this non-profit program that brings teenagers into the kitchen to learn how to use healthy foods to prepare 5 to 7 days of nurturing meals for medically challenged patients and their families.
"Mrs. Jankovic invited us into her classroom to discuss our project and healthy food," says Leigh. "She and her class volunteered to make 48 quarts of nutritious broth to be used in the healthy meals our teen volunteers prepare. This was a great experience for us and the students: we'd love to offer similar educational and volunteer opportunities to teachers and students at all the local high schools."
Education is an important component in how the Fox Valley Food for Health Project operates. Teenage volunteer cooks attend classes to learn about subjects relating to food, including preparation methods, the benefits of healthy eating, and how diet relates to cancer prevention. Project staff expect to offer community education programs at the Living Well Cancer Resource Center in Geneva beginning in April.
The Fox Valley Food for Health Project currently serves 18 people in 7 families adversely affected by illness thanks to the efforts of 16 teen chefs and many adult volunteers.
The program is still in need of teenage cooks and adults to coordinate volunteers and fundraising efforts, do food prep, deliver meals, and act as client liaisons. The organization also seeks business partners and community sponsors willing to help underwrite the project's operating and food costs.
For more information about the Fox Valley Food for Health Project, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit us on Facebook at Fox Valley Food For Health Project.