As the crafty season grinds to a screeching halt (snow piling up outside my window) and I work on my next big creation, I've also began occupying my time with more culinary related things to do. Still hearing a chorus of crickets from the employment front (nothing says great big loser than submitting 23 resumes in 4 days with no reply), I've decided to focus on keeping my skills sharp for a worthy cause and volunteering my services.
First there's this great organization called Share Our Strength, thinking about it now I vaguely remember seeing commercials around Thanksgiving on Food Network. Anyway, their aim is to end childhood hunger in the United States by 2015 and they do this via fundraising events and grants that assist organizations around the country that provide children and families with healthy food as well as in education programs that teach families how to eat right and stay healthy. You don't have to be an award winning chef, doctor, teacher or nutritionist to help either. You can hold a bake sale, eat at an establishment participating in the Great American Dine Out program, attend a Tasteful Pursuit event, or just write a check.
As for me, I'm happy to say I'll be an active participant and volunteer in kitchens at a few events occurring in Portland over the next few months (details to follow as I get them:) but if you want to find out how to get involved check out this link: http://strength.org/get_involved/
They really are great people and what's better than breaking a sweat to fill the bellies of our nation's youth?
The other organization that's come to my attention is a bit more difficult to get involved with but its cause is just as worthy. The Culinary Corps "enables chefs, cooks, food educators, and culinary students to volunteer their professional skills and tackle some of America’s most critical food challenges: emergency hunger relief, cooking and nutrition education, healthy food access, childhood wellness, and culinary heritage preservation." They've gone to places such as New Orleans and Puerto Rico and plan on visiting Haiti once the first responders have left and rebuilding has begun. However, they are making a list of people interested in offering their services so check out http://culinarycorps.org/category/culanthropy/ for details.
So, between President Obama efforts and the focus on Haiti, if you've started to feel the urge to volunteer by all means do so. Donate blood, give coats, clothes, glasses, food to your local Goodwill, house of worship or school and contact your local soup kitchen or anyone holding a charity event and see how you might be able to offer your services. Whether you're standing red faced over a boiling pot, hammering nails into a wall of a future home, or gathering supplies for a care package to the troops, there's nothing in this world that feels better than the warm fuzzy feeling of satisfaction you get in doing something for others, you just can't put a price on that:)