Oakland, CA – A Bay Area nonprofit has found a new way to feed the homeless and others in need this holiday season.
Community Kitchens train volunteers to become home cooks.
Parul Patel cooks meals for the homeless and needy twice a month.
She is one of dozens of volunteers participating in the Community Kitchen home chef program.
“I just want to help with food insecurity and hunger. Just do it at the community level,” Patel said.
She is a mother of two young children and works part time but wants to give back to the community.
She buys groceries out of her own pocket and cooks hot meals for the show.
Patel said it was beneficial.
“It makes me feel more personable to use our own ingredients, our own resources and pick and choose which meals we want to serve,” she said.
The nonprofit Community Kitchens said part of a $400,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente is used to train home cooks and provide meal packaging.
The initiative is part of the nonprofit Community Kitchen, which is part of a $400,000 grant to fund training for home cooks and provide meal packaging.
Mollye Chudacoff of Community Kitchens said: “It’s a way for people who want to volunteer but maybe don’t necessarily have to go somewhere, but really enjoy cooking and really have fun. A way for people to provide some structure. We created this infrastructure.” .
The Home Chef program is ongoing throughout the year.
Each volunteer is also responsible for delivering meals to one of six refrigerators in various Oakland neighborhoods.
A refrigerator for public use is located in East Auckland.
Neighbors say it is very much needed.
“It saved me from starvation and prison,” said Craig Delk, who lost his job a few months ago and is on the verge of homelessness.
He says he gets a lot of hot meals out of this freezer.
“The food they put in here is good food. It’s not crap. There’s some good stuff in it,” Delker said. “It’s great to have someone do something like this for us. There are a lot of people sleeping rough.”
For Patel, serving the community is nutritious, “just knowing that people need food, especially now with inflation.”
Volunteers prepare meals and deliver them to communal refrigerators three to four times a week, organizers said.
Amber Lee is a reporter for KTVU. Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com, or call 510-599-3922 to text/message.Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU, Instagram @AmberKTVU or Twitter @AmberKTVU