A local community organization has set up donations to start a “home cooking” project that will help community members become independent cooks as well as train direct support professionals.
Carey Services received a donation that helped fund a new kitchen area that began providing services in November and will expand even further in 2022.
The first class involved people in “daytime programming,” teaching them how to bake no-bake cookies as an introduction to cooking and baking.
The kitchen was created in a building next to the ring road, and Carey Services president and CEO Jim Allbaugh said the organization recently received a million dollar grant that will provide it with the necessary funds. to build a new full-size commercial kitchen in the same building.
The current kitchen will always be used for more personal one-on-one training and for small groups that require more attention during training and demonstrations.
Director of Daytime Programming Kim Chapman said the kitchen meets people’s need to learn life skills and eventually become independent in meal preparation and cooking. The program begins with learning about health and safety followed by food safety and healthy portions and ends with independent cooking skills that can be applied in the participant’s own home.
“We realized that our people who live in our supportive environment, the people in our group home and FSW workers somehow need support,” Chapman said. “In the near future, they were hoping to be able to offer space for future (direct support professionals) so that they have the opportunity to learn to cook for people who cannot. “
The support that the kitchen will give to individuals is a feeling of independence in the kitchen. Most of the people who take courses are inexperienced in cooking and can rely on others to prepare meals. Cooking is a way of teaching the skills necessary for individuals to become more of an independent cook.
“One of the things we love about Carey Services is facilitating learning opportunities to increase independence,” said Allbaugh. “This value coordinates well with the value we place on the health and well-being of the people we serve. “
Chapman said the space is currently for small groups and hands-on training, and will also be used for outsourced training. As Allbaugh stated, the kitchen will remain fully utilized even after the new kitchen is built to facilitate the same learning.
Currently, Chapman has expressed his intention to have classes two or three times a week with different groups for each session. Additionally, direct support professionals will likely be scheduled for classes every two weeks depending on the course structure.
Chapman sees cooking as an opportunity for community engagement and growth as well as an instrument to teach and encourage independent living for those in need of structure and education.
“It’s fantastic. We have the opportunity to grow with other communities as more people come in to have the opportunity and the chance to cook hands-on and give them the skills they have. need to pick up with them and for individuals to become more successful and independent on their own, ”Chapman said.
Chapman has been the kitchen spokesperson for Carey Services since its inception. Chapman said the kitchen is a project she has been pushing for since she started getting involved with Carey Services and expressed her gratitude and excitement that the project is finally a reality.
The expanded kitchen coming in fall 2022 is part of a much larger project that Carey Services is planning for the future. The building that currently houses the ‘home’ kitchen and will include the expanded commercial kitchen will also house the training and career development center which will be career and employment oriented to help individuals engage even more in the future. the community.