Volunteer Cooking, My Little Get Away - From The Witch's Kitchen Blog at Allrecipes.com - 216690

From The Witch's Kitchen

Volunteer Cooking, My Little Get Away 
Jan. 12, 2011 7:40 am 
Updated: Jan. 16, 2011 9:48 am

The Prince Albert Youth Center, known affectionately to staff and youth alike as the YAC, is my little cooking get away. The YAC and I have a bit of a history. When the center opened many years ago my aunt was one of the outreach workers and I was in my early teens. I often hung out there after school and sometimes attended dances and other events. When I was 16 I met my husband at the annual Valentine's dance. He was 18 and a junior staff at the time. He asked my aunt about me for over six months and finally when I was 17 I went out for coffee with him, within a week we were dating, within two months we had moved in together and decided that we would one day be married. My husband is now an outreach worker at the center and I myself ran a year long girl's healthy eating and activity program three days a week. I am now a busy SAHM but I still go to the YAC.

At least once a month my very patient sister-in-law babysits my four children so that I can cook at the YAC. Volunteering there is never a chore, the staff is like a second family to my husband and I as many of them have witnessed us growing up and been a part of our lives. The youth are always very appreciative of my cooking and there are often one or two of them helping me cook or just hanging out in the kitchen talking with me and sneaking tastes of whatever it is that I'm making that month. Giving back to an organization that has given me so much is a joy.

This month I made comfort food, chicken and dumpling soup and improvised garlic parmesan rolls. I arrived earlier than usual so I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip peppermint cookies to serve during the afternoon. At the end of the night there was not a drop of soup left and all of the rolls had somehow disappeared. I received many wonderful compliments on my cooking and left with that warm feeling that I had made a difference. What makes you feel that way?

The youth come back to volunteer and visit when they become adults, and they bring their children.
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Shirley and Jodi Serving up chicken dumpling soup at the YAC
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Thrown together Garlic Parmesan rolls
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Jan. 12, 2011 7:46 am
Such a nice blog Sarah! I enjoyed reading your story. Such a wonderful thing that you do!
Jan. 12, 2011 8:04 am
Thanks Anissa!
Jan. 12, 2011 8:13 am
What a wonderful way to showcase your talents and give to good cause, keep up the good works..
Jan. 12, 2011 8:31 am
Thank you Faye :).
Jan. 12, 2011 9:07 am
Hi Sarah, I haven't been to Prince Albert in about 25 years (BC here). I was on a Cargill crew doing repairs and we passed through. I didn't really get to know anyone while in town but it sounds like they have a couple of the best people there. You go girl.
Jan. 12, 2011 9:25 am
Thanks Raedwulf, it's a small world isn't it?
Jan. 12, 2011 11:58 am
GOOD for you Sarah!! Love the blog and a great way to give back. 2 months eh?:D I do not volunteer on a regular basis, but I do cook for the local legion (used to work their bar), help at the hospital and volunteer at the school when they need me. The knit of small communities warms my heart.
Jan. 12, 2011 12:33 pm
lol, yup 2 months RnG and you can believe I got an ear-full about that from various family members. But here we are nearly 10 years later :). It helped that we were 'shacked up' for almost three years before we got married. Go Gramma, you're a volunteering whirlwind!
Jan. 12, 2011 6:40 pm
What a wonderful thing you do <3 I loved reading your story, great blog! And you are making a BIG difference in their lives, and probably gifting the love of cooking to a few. One day, you may be the memory they look back on. How nice! I volunteered at a nursing home and hospital as a teen. Now I work full time as a social worker and I'm a mom (hence the name ) but will hopefully be able to do some volunteer work again someday. I love the feeling that you go because you want to, not because you have to.
Jan. 12, 2011 7:23 pm
I home schooled my grandson from the fifth grade to the ninth grade. He is going to brick and mortor school now. We had decided he wanted to go to high school. When he comes home from school and tells me something he could do or answer or something he knew because of what he learned in home school. Or somehting we did in home school helped his know about a subject further.
Jan. 12, 2011 7:58 pm
I have been cooking 3-4 days a week at a local food bank/shelter. We only do one meal at mid day and I do not have too much creative leeway, but like you, I feel the need to give back and our guests are so sweet and so needy that it isn't a chore. My frustration is I don't think the "powers that be" still see the humans on the recieving end as individuals anymore. I do love it, though so I need to just concentrate on cooking and let the rest go by.
Jan. 12, 2011 8:26 pm
How cool that you and others volunteer your cooking skills to such great causes!! I live in a very small town, so I help out at all fire dept. functions as well as the local summer 3-day celebration (right smack dab in the middle of that one) that tries to bring people into town and raise money for various organizations in town. Believe me, they don't want me preparing the food. I go into full-blown panic mode when I have to cook for more than 6. I don't cook for large groups and can't judge how much needs to be prepared. Best to stick me with serving & cleanup!
Jan. 13, 2011 6:06 am
JJs, thank you, I love that you're a social worker, when I was at the YAC three days a week I did a little of the outreach work and met many wonderful social workers. :)
Jan. 13, 2011 6:07 am
Go Kitten! I've decided not to homeschool, at least for now, I find it intimidating.
Jan. 13, 2011 6:09 am
I hear you BigshotsMom, in organizations like this you see some very frustrating things, especially if you are there several days a week. Good for you for rising above and continuing to help.
Jan. 13, 2011 6:11 am
lol Magnolia, I had the opposite problem for a long time, set me up to cook for 50 and I'm fine but let me cook for 2 and I always made way too much! I've gotten better at it now with the exception of soup, I always make a giant pot, at least it's something that can be frozen ;).
Jan. 13, 2011 12:15 pm
Kudos to you, Sarah-May, and all the rest of you! I do work with the needy and the homeless, but I get paid for it - well, mostly. I work for a municipality as a grant administrator. I am the Chair of the Homeless Coalition, co-chair of Mayor's Task Force to End Homelessness, and I sit on a regional group too. I plan our Annual Candlelight Vigil to bring awareness to the hungry and homeless. And last year we did an event called Project Homeless Connect - like a one stop shop day for the needy to get services, housing, have something to eat, etc. We have a video on YouTube (Fall River Project Homeless Connect). In fact, tomorrow, although we don't work Fridays, I am attending a luncheon at a homeless shelter for our local politicians - the clients are cooking and we are all going to sit down together to eat and talk about whatever the clients want to.
Jan. 13, 2011 3:15 pm
Mary C., Most of the people who work at/with the YAC get paid too but much of them time not nearly enough for how hard they work. Your dedication to your job is a wonderful thing, the world needs more people like you :).
Jan. 13, 2011 5:53 pm
That's a really neat story and it's great that you both are still involved with the place that brought you together. I love to volunteer...it's always rewarding, often in many ways.
Jan. 13, 2011 6:57 pm
Thats is wonderful! I often volunteer at our local Eagles Club cooking burgers, tacos etc for our week specials. I cook for the Rotary once a week and for special occassions (District Meeting is at our club this weekend!). All the monies we make this year are earmarked for the Diabetes Foundation. Knowing I put out delicious food and am helping a cause warms my heart.
Jan. 13, 2011 7:10 pm
Thanks Elcay :)
Jan. 13, 2011 7:11 pm
Great cause KSAZA! I'm loving hearing about where everyone else likes to volunteer, thanks for commenting.
Jan. 14, 2011 9:16 am
Sarah, I just went back to your baking blog and here is the recipe-1 can eagle brand milk, 1 cup graham crumbs, 4 cups whatevers (chopped nuts, choc chips, cherries, coconut, dates, figs) whatever you want, Mix well, pour into a 8X8 pan, lines with parchment and bake 325 for 20-30 minutes. You want it to be firm, lightly browned. Remove from the pan as soon as you can handle it so the outside edge does not continue to heat and and get hard:)
Jan. 14, 2011 10:01 am
Thanks RNG, I'll have to try those soon and use up my glace cherries :)
Jan. 15, 2011 6:12 am
I've thought of cooking for the homeless center in town, but couldn't promise a set schedule, so I donated veggies from my garden all summer (and most of the fall)... we also did a "grow a row for the center" In one batch I gave them a bunch of shiso leaves... the next time they told me they thought they were weeds and tossed them :)
Jan. 15, 2011 7:42 am
That's a great one Marvel, there always seems to be that one thing that overproduces in the garden and you don't know what to do with it all! I've never seen shiso, but I looked it up and I hope I would've realized it was food :).
Lee B 
Jan. 15, 2011 10:23 am
What a nice way to give back! Kudos to everyone...
Jan. 15, 2011 4:04 pm
Thanks for commenting Lee B!
Jan. 15, 2011 9:57 pm
Sarah-May, the more I get to know you, the more I really admire and like you. When I had all 4 kids at home and in 4 different schools, I volunteered my time at each of their schools as well as scouts (den mother here...), little league board, the local childrens museum, etc. I was so busy, I didn't know if I was coming or going most of the time. I now want to get involved with Meals on Wheels and either, cook a meal behind the scenes, or deliver to the folks that really appreciate a friendly face and someone to talk to.
Jan. 16, 2011 8:22 am
Thank-you Avon :). I'm looking forward to my bunch going to school, I'm a little worried because it is a small school and my 4 will only be a grade apart and if there is a split class they could all end up in the same class, when it's time to send something for Christmas dinner or class parties I'm going to have my work cut out for me. (Put me down for 4 different kinds of cookies!) Meals on Wheels is a great thing and something I could see being a part of some day and dragging the children along when they get older.
Jan. 16, 2011 8:38 am
Sarah-May, you inspire me. Bless you for sharing your talents and giving back to your YAC. It sounds like you have a very full life. You are showing your little ones the right way. Just don't let your good and giving nature allow you to overextend yourself and get "burned out" too soon, OK? :-) You are a beautiful gem.
Jan. 16, 2011 8:55 am
*blush* Thank-you Skyeyes. One of the things I do (when I can) to avoid burning out, is take my Sundays. Sunday is mine, hubby graciously watches the children all day and I work on whatever I want to, or I read or go out with friends. The only thing I do to help him out is throw something in the slow cooker for supper, that or make something Saturday, like calzones or lasagna, that is easy for him to heat up for the kids.
Jan. 16, 2011 9:32 am
What a great blog. =]
Jan. 16, 2011 9:48 am
Thanks Liz :), shhhh I creeped your profile to find out your name :O.
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