Sometimes cooking nourishes not just the body, but also the soul. Many cooks take great pleasure in making a meal for their family or friends, yet there’s a special kind of soul-nourishing that is felt by some of the WJC Sisterhood members and friends who participate in our monthly Cooking for HOPE Community Kitchen. Since its founding in 1984 HOPE has grown to become the largest emergency Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen in the region. As Feeding Westchester states “Although many in Westchester are wealthy, wages remain low and stagnant for the working poor. And with fixed expenses like rent and childcare on the rise, groceries are often the first line slashed in a household’s budget.” And as Leslie Gordon, president and CEO of the Food Bank for Westchester, said 200,000 people living in the county — 29 percent of them children — “don’t really know when their next meal will be, or what that meal will be.”
Recognizing that need and wanting to do something to help, starting in January 2021 the WJC Sisterhood partnered with HOPE Community Kitchen to provide home-cooked meals including a main, a vegetable, and a dessert. Each cook makes enough food for a meal for ten people and these meals are dropped off at the homes of Glenna Lee or Sondra Levy who deliver them to HOPE Kitchen. HOPE then distributes the meals to those in need. In January our participants created 300 meals and we aimed for 120 for the following 3 months. The meals included foods like baked chicken, vegetarian chili, lasagna, quiche, green beans, roasted veggies, and lots of cookies and brownies.