Story Tiffany Jarva, Photos by Obie Egbuchulam
Laughter rolls through a community kitchen as the tiny hands of children measure out, pour, and stir ingredients. Teens cut carrots, shred lettuce, and dice tomatoes. Young moms and dads learn to cook healthy meals to benefit their children. Community members volunteer their time and expertise.
“Families feel a sense of community and contribution,” says Gladys Berringer, executive director of Our Kids Count. “In a community kitchen people are working together, sharing their skills, and learning how to cook healthy while stretching their dollars.”
Community kitchens provide safe places for people of all ages to learn about the importance of healthy eating and experience the art and joy of cooking—an important life skill. “We work with all local populations including older adults, families, and young parents—it’s a way to help build a sense of community,” explains Berringer.
In the last six months, over 6,800 adults and children were fed through community kitchen programs, with an increase of more than 500 new clients. Our Kids Count has launched a campaign to help raise money because of increased demand and rising costs. “Our programs are full to capacity and despite all the work that many of us do in the community, people are still going hungry,” says Berringer.
If you are interested in donating or volunteering your time, visit ourkidscount.ca.