21 03 2011

Whew! My weekend went by entirely too fast! I always feel like I could use an extra day, don’t you?

I told you last week that I’d let you know when my cousin posted my pictures on her blog. Well, they’re up!! Here’s a peek, but you should check them out, she did SUCH a good job! I love them all! If you live in NC and need a photographer, she’s your gal!

Recently, Chloe talked about one of her New Year’s Resolutions. Last year and this year, I made a New Year’s resolution to volunteer once a month for the year. It could be any kind of volunteer work that I wanted, from chaperoning a field trip to working a water stop at a race. I really enjoy giving back to the community, and it is a great way to meet new people and do something fun! All of the activities I’ve done so far have been one-time deals, but I’d like to find something I can do more regularly.

This month, I went with a few friends from church to help prepare food for the homeless at the DC Central Kitchen.

DC Central Kitchen’s mission is to  “use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities.” They provide 4,500 meals per day to shelters, transitional clinics, and rehabilitation homes! Now that’s a lot of food!

They get it all done with the help of a steady stream of volunteers, and some of the students and graduates of their Culinary Training Program. I think this is one of the coolest things about DC Central Kitchen: They provide culinary training and education to unemployed adults overcoming homelessness, addiction, and incarceration to prepare them for careers in the food service industry. What a great idea!

We started our day with an orientation from the volunteer coordinator, a graduate of the Culinary Training Program:

He told us everything we needed to know to get started, and led us back to the kitchen where we go to put on these:

Hairnets, plastic aprons, and gloves. Sexy, eh? I guess it’s better to be sanitary, right?

We started our 3 hour shift with some salad prep:

I helped slice up some cucumbers.

We chopped up two of these full tubs of cucumbers!

Several others peeled and shredded the carrots:

And a few others diced up some tomatoes:

After all of the cukes and tomatoes were done, they needed us to help cut up some onions for the ratatouille the others were working on:

Thankfully, this job didn’t last too long, since shortly after we started, it was break time. I don’t know that my eyes could have handled it for too much longer!

Some boys from another group helped prep the salad dressing, by blending some roasted red peppers into some Italian dressing:

That’s a lot of dressing!

Finally, the salads were assembled for delivery:

While the salad assembly was happening, I was put to work on the ratatouille:Double, double, toil and trouble!! What a crazy large cauldron! I was stirring it with a paddle, and it felt like I was canoeing through some SERIOUS seaweed!

The ratatouille had a bunch of veggies in it: eggplant, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, purple cabbage…I think that’s all of them! The head chef (also a graduate from their program) put in some chicken stock and some spices to bring it all together. It smelled tasty!

I helped pack up the ratatouille, and before I knew it, it was time to go!

This was a great experience; I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do it! I love that I was doing something I love to do, and was helping others while I was doing it! I definitely want to look into future opportunities to come back. Anyone want to join me?

Last night was Eating Club, and we had a special guest. Stay tuned for a recap!