Week 39: Cooking for a cause

Project: Cooking for On the Rise Women’s Shelter

Actual Time Taken: 3 hours

This week I found my volunteer opportunity via the the good people of VolunteerMatch.org. It’s been a great resource for finding new places to volunteer from city to city, and I was so excited to find one that I could include my entire Girl Scout troop in as well!

(The “entire troop” being me, the Girl Scout Troop leader, and my Girl Scout, Hero.)

The charity I found, On the Rise, is local homeless day program that focuses on women. It’s mission is so beautiful and moving, and I was absolutely honored that we were able to help out this week by making a meal for them this week. It was super simple to sign up- I wrote them an email about being interested and they sent me a link to register for a day that they needed food delivered on a very cool website that helps caretakers and shelters keeps track of community meal planning, Meal Train.

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 1.45.12 AM

“On The Rise is a day program that is uniquely effective at working with homeless women who do not fit the requirements of other programs.  For example, a woman might not have a specified period of sobriety, a firm commitment to leave an abusive partner, a treatment plan for her mental illness, or a clean criminal record.  On The Rise meets women where they are.  Our expectations of her, and her expectations of us, grow as our relationship grows.” (Image Source

When my Troop and I met last week, we found a Cooking badge that Hero had yet to earn and composed a menu that met the requirements of earning the badge: A food Hero’s never cooked (Shrimp), a dessert she’s never made (Pumpkin Pie), and for Hero to plan a complete meal (See menu below.) Check, check, and check! Hero carefully crafted the entire menu herself, which consisted of Shrimp Scampi, Roasted Veggies, Pasta, Garlic Rolls, and Pumpkin Pie. I wondered to myself if she could get double points for the fact that I also had never made those dishes before….

The blind leading the blind…

We started on our culinary adventure at the grocery store, flying around the shelves like two contestants in Supermarket Sweep.

 2014-09-24 14.16.23Hero at the wheel!

When we got home, we started with piecing together the pumpkin pies, figuring that they would take the longest to bake. We laid out all of the ingredients and realized in our market frenzy, we forgot the condensed milk.

 2014-09-24 14.32.22Our haul, sans condensed milk…

Whoops.

So almond milk instead of condensed milk it is…. and we finished up the pies with the hopes that they would turn out. (And looking back, we never did try a slice to test the taste… hope it worked out for everyone…)

 2014-09-24 14.53.23Yummy pies. (I hope…)

Next we boiled a pot of pasta as we sautéed up the veggies and shrimp (in separate pans, in case there were allergies) with some  olive oil, garlic, and spices for the scampi. I know, I know, scampi recipes usually call for white wine vinegar of some kind, but the shelter prefers that volunteers not donate food with any alcohol ingredient of any kind. This probably disqualifies our dish as a traditional scampi, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

 2014-09-24 15.40.37Shrimp “Scampi,” a la Hero and Selena

We glazed the Pillsbury crescent rolls with butter and garlic and popped them in the oven after pulling out the pumpkin pies, and finished up plating the shrimp and veggies and pasta in separate aluminum dishes for transport.

2014-09-24 15.18.04

Hero glazing away

We had a great time, taking turns sautéing (aka stirring stuff) and giggling at me spilling various liquids on myself. (Like I said, a regular Rachel Ray I am certainly not…)

2014-09-24 15.06.23Sautee away Hero!

The next morning, I dropped off the food along with a note detailing the ingredients, so the women could make healthy choices and be aware of potential allergens, as well as how to re-heat the food. As I waited for the volunteers to come out to the car, a truck pulled up in front of me and started to unload fresh produce and fruit. It was a local not-for-profit that was also dropping off fresh food for the organization, and I felt so honored to have been able to do my little part to help this week too.

2014-09-25 10.55.50

“When I give food to the poor,

they call me a saint.

When I ask why the poor have no food,

They call me a communist.”

-Dom Helder Camara

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