Kitchens for Good – why are we donating to them?

Hello Cleansers,

My name is Aviva Paley, and I am the Director of Programs at Kitchens for Good, a social enterprise that works to break the cycles of food waste, poverty and hunger in San Diego. Having participated in the cleanse several times myself, I feel honored and humbled this year to be writing on behalf of Kitchens for Good, and to be the beneficiary of the Food Stamp Challenge.13901588_1078376568917884_3377165445357032009_n-1

The cleanse is a meaningful exercise that pushes participants to reveal the power of food in their lives. By paying acute attention to our diets, we can see how food affects our mental and physical health. The practice hits the restart button on all of our habits and eating practices, and even our mental state.

However, this practice, to carefully decide what nourishing foods to put in our body­,  is of course a privilege. For many facing hunger, the questions are not, is this food good for my body, or does it taste good,  but rather- is there enough?

That is what the Food Stamp Challenge is all about. By trying to stick to a $4.10 a day food budget, we are made aware of how difficult it is to eat a whole foods, nutritious and filling diet with such limited resources.  The challenge inspires gratitude for the current abundance of resources in our lives and makes us reflect on the health of the community.

Above all, for me, the Food Stamp Challenge points out that health and wellness is not a guaranteed right to all, but a freedom only given with financial security.

img_7582This idea is core to the ethos of Kitchens for Good and what inspires my work everyday: hunger isn’t just about food, but rather hunger is a symptom of poverty and lack of economic opportunity.  To truly alleviate hunger, we must help people reach self-sufficiency, employment, and independence.

Here at Kitchens for Good, we insist on looking at food not just as fuel for the body or a resource to feed the hungry, but rather- as a tool to empower, uplift, educate and employ.  We do this through a culinary job training program that prepares hard to employ populations like formerly incarcerated individuals, youth aging out of foster care and individuals leaving rehab, to launch their careers in the culinary and hospitality industry.  During the training, the students practice their culinary skills by preparing surplus food that might otherwise go to waste into thousands of healthy meals a week for children and seniors experiencing hunger.

I feel blessed everyday at work, to witness students transform their lives, from one of addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and unemployment and food stamps, to lives of stability, good health, employment and a brighter future. For me- this is the real power of food- to uplift and empower. Your support of Kitchens for Good is truly making a difference in the lives of our students, their families, and our community. On behalf of all those whose lives will be changed by our work, I am deeply grateful for your investment in the future of Kitchens for Good.

-Aviva Paley


About Kitchens for Good:

Kitchens for Good’s (KFG) mission is to break the cycles of food waste, poverty and hunger through innovative programs in workforce training, healthy food production, and social enterprise. KFG builds a bridge to close the gap between wasted food and hunger by rescuing and purchasing surplus food from wholesalers and farmers,  and then engaging students in its culinary job training program to transform these ingredients into nutritious meals and products for hungry families. Each week our students prepare 1500 meals for seniors and children suffering from hunger across San Diego county.  This approach not only addresses the most immediate needs of hunger through healthy meals, but also tackles the root cause of hunger- poverty, through a workforce training program that provides individuals who are typically considered difficult to employ the skills to become self-sufficient.
Kitchens for Good ensures its own sustainability by building a profitable food enterprise at the core of every kitchen, including catering, contract meals services, and retail food products. Through this robust enterprise model, KFG creates livable wage jobs for culinary graduates, and generates significant profits to reinvest into its social programs.



About airgolden

I fill jars and I empty jars.
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