Mendocino College is excited to announce its new partnership with North Coast Opportunities’ Caring Kitchen. The Caring Kitchen provides free and low-cost meals to individuals and families with a cancer diagnosis. An open house to celebrate its relocation from Willits to Mendocino College will be held on March 15 from 4 to 6 pm at the new kitchen in room 6230 at the Ukiah campus. The community is invited to attend and will meet adult and teen volunteers, tour the kitchen, enjoy delicious appetizers and wine, and learn how everyone can be part of this truly compassionate community project serving cancer patients.
Tarney Sheldon, Caring Kitchen Program Manager, gave a presentation about the project to the Rotary Club of Ukiah in 2017 and announced the need for a larger kitchen. It was during this meeting that Rotary Club of Ukiah and Mendocino College President Arturo Reyes welcomed the idea of bringing the Caring Kitchen project to the college campus.
“For me the Caring Kitchen project is a developmental progression for our students, volunteers, and Mendocino College,” says Dennis Aseltyne, Dean of Applied Academics.
“It delivers a proven service learning model that found a true need in the community and created a program to meet the need. All those involved in this service learning community /college effort benefit.”
Since its inception, the Caring Kitchen Project has provided over 3,500 meals to 52 individuals and families with a cancer diagnosis, at a time when they are most in need of nutritious food. The project engages teen volunteer chefs-in-training, offering them an opportunity to serve their community while they learn about the benefits of healthy food and build leadership and work skills. Adult volunteers contribute time mentoring teens in the kitchen, growing organic produce, calling clients to check in, and delivering meals directly to clients’ doors. The Caring Kitchen’s location at Mendocino College will strengthen youth engagement, while bringing students from the surrounding area to experience the campus.
“We’ve had such a warm reception at the college as we’ve moved our kitchen operations on campus,” says April Cunningham, Lead Chef. “This kitchen is so large and functional, especially with the new [oven] range that the Community Foundation of Mendocino County’s ‘Save the Day Fund’ provided. We are now able to increase our meal production, as well as bring in more teen and adult volunteers to contribute to the Caring Kitchen Project.”