Cooking Matters

Today my act will be part of a small ongoing volunteer position with a non-profit organization that I’m really excited to share and raise awareness about. Part of 100acts is about exploring as many different local volunteer opportunities as possible because at least for me, until doing some conscious and engaging research, I never realized most of these easy but beneficial positions existed. I hope to share my experience so others may learn about them and spread the word and/or join me in giving back.

I’ve driven by Solid Ground, a local non-profit fighting to end oppression and poverty, about a dozen times and never noticed it until I had my volunteer orientation today. Located in the heart of Wallingford on 45th street, Solid Ground stands tall in a modern building adjacent from popular restaurants and established stores.

The non-profit umbrellas many programs and services from housing and transportation to food justice (to learn more about what food justice is, click here) . My volunteer position will be involved with a program called Cooking Matters, a series of classes designed to teach low-income communities how to cook healthy meals for their families.

Inside Charlie's Produce - a giant refrigerator

Inside Charlie’s Produce – a giant refrigerator

I met with Nicole and Sandra today who are both employees at Solid Ground. The orientation was simply showing me how to do my volunteer position – driving to Charlie’s Produce in SoDo, picking up fresh local produce, and then driving it back to Solid Ground headquarters to be stored until the classes are ready to use it. That’s it! My job is really simple and only takes about an hour once every week. Along the way Sandra and Nicole gave me some great insight on why Cooking Matters is benefitting community clinics such as Sea Mar Community Health Center, Neighborcare Health, and Southwest Youth and Family Services. 

Food ready to go at Charlies!

Food ready to go at Charlies!

The Cooking Matters website page says it best by stating: Cooking Matters hosts six-week class series for low-income individuals at over 65 locations throughout Greater Seattle and Washington State. Classes include healthy cooking skills, nutrition education and food budgeting” (solid-ground.org).

All the produce from Charlie’s Produce and non-produce items from Whole Foods(which is all DONATED from the two companies by the way, how cool!!) are used in classes that take place 2-4 times a week at different centers around Seattle. Each class is run by a Solid Ground staff member, a volunteer chef, a volunteer nutritionist and a volunteer class assistant as well as staff from the designated center. There are usually 8-15 people per class who learn cooking skills and healthy recipes with the various ingredients provided. At the end of the class, each person gets to take home a recipe’s worth of food to test out in their own kitchen. And all these classes are completely FREE.

Loading produce into the car

Loading produce into the car

My role in Cooking Matters is a small one, but it helps out the staff members so they can focus on other duties instead of food running. I’m really excited to start my position next week and can’t wait to meet all the wonderful people along the way! It is so inspiring to see first-hand how these individual people work together as a community in order to take care of each other no matter where they come from, what ethnicity they are, how much money they make, where they live, etc. Because it just doesn’t matter; we are all in this together. And if one is struggling, aren’t we all struggling?

Thank you for reading! I appreciate your support.

Related Reading:
Learn about other programs and services at Solid Ground 
Get Involved with Solid Ground here 
Cooking Matters Blog  

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