Cooking with Purpose

 

Cooking always has a purpose, whether it is to nourish, to be enjoyed, or to bring a community together, and it did all three at the Day of Giving.

Earlier this spring I participated in a communal day of cooking with a purpose. During Community Heroes: Day of Giving, kids take part in service activities that give back to their community. These projects are all led by young people who feel empowered to create positive change in the world.  I led a group through a wonderful morning of eco-friendly cooking with Wonderbags.

We had three main goals for the day:

  • One was to teach kids and their families how to use a Wonderbag and to explore the positive social and environmental impacts of the Wonderbag. Together, we chopped carrots, onions and celery. Using the Wonderbags, we slow-cooked six giant pots of chicken vegetable noodle soup to be delivered to members of our local community.
  • Our second goal was to provide support to members of our community experiencing homelessness and gratitude for our local firefighters especially after their hard work during the recent Santa Rosa fires. Kids delivered large pots of soup, big green salads and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to two homeless shelters. We also brought warm hand packaged soup, freshly baked cookies, and handmade thank you cards to five fire stations around San Rafael.
  • Our third goal was to connect with other local volunteers at the Day of Giving over a delicious and warm communal meal. We provided tasters and bowls of chicken soup for all the participants and got to share our project and hard work with our friends and family.

Over the course of the day I saw all of the kids collaborating with each other as they cooked with the Wonderbags. Having not used them before they had to problem solve and work as a whole to learn about the bags and use them effectively. I got to see everyone bond as we all cooked together and shared stories about our passion for cooking, which connected to our deep care for the environment. We also talked about how Wonderbag cooking empowers women across the world. Cooking always has a purpose, whether it is to nourish, to be enjoyed, or to bring a community together, and it did all three at the Day of Giving.

From this Day, I feel like I gained insight into how empowered and motivated this new generation of kids is to connect with the people around them and create change in the world. My understanding of community engagement has evolved. I used to call it community service, which is providing a service, but that is only part of it. You are also engaging with the activity you are doing and the people you are working with, and they give you a lot in return for what you give them. People teach you, they show you love, make you feel appreciated, help you learn about gratitude, and so much more. Every act of kindness in the world goes a long way. Generosity sends out a ripple effect that goes on for miles, and we just need to keep it growing.

Let’s grow positive change together. Join me in bringing wonderbags to families in need at eSibonisweni Primary School in rural South Africa this July. Or you could start your own fundraiser to bring Wonderbags to families in your local or even global community. There are so many ways to get involved in spreading kindness in the world. When people are motivated to do what they love to create positive change in the world, anything is possible.

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Chiara