NEW VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY TO LEND A HELPING HAND
by Cathy Thoma, Director of Volunteer Resources
Do you have a small team of friends, family, or coworkers who like to cook and are interested in a fun, quick, and easy volunteer opportunity? We have just the thing for you! Our new Cooks in the Kitchen program is a great way for a small team of volunteers to lend a big helping hand to some of our homes that are particularly short staffed, allowing them to spend more time on personal care for the individuals, rather than cooking.
“This is a nice way to give back,” says Hammer’s Director of Volunteer Services, Cathy Thoma. “It takes just four to six volunteers to prepare the meals. You come into our Hammer kitchen for about three hours and prepare two recipes that are delivered to four homes, which adds up to 80 individual meals.” As a thank you, each volunteer receives one of our specially designed Cooks in the Kitchen potholders.
No special culinary skills required! The volunteer team is provided with the recipes and after some brief instruction, begins the prep, which can involve browning hamburger, or cooking chicken, along with chopping up lots of veggies. Hammer’s kitchen (on the lower level of the Central Office) is well stocked with all the utensils, tools, and pots and pans that are needed. The meals are cooked in the Hammer kitchen and then divided into large containers and put into special carrying containers.
Once the meals are completed, Central Office staff deliver them to four of our homes that have staffing shortages right now. “We’ve expanded to also support one of our NER homes and hope to add more,” Cathy says. “It’s one way we can lend a helping hand to our hardworking direct support staff, and they get to enjoy the meals as well.”
Melissa Yajko, Director of Sales Strategy at Business Essentials
We’ve done Cooks in the Kitchen three times,” Melissa says. “It’s great for team building and fun to work on doing something completely different. We wanted to start getting out there in the community. We wanted to find a way to give of our time and Hammer makes it easy, and we got to learn more about what they do. The recipes are there, things are ready to go. The whole process is very easy to just step into to help out. We look forward to doing it again.”
Jami Schaehrer, Production Manager and Media Development at Color Glo
“It feels like being in grandma’s kitchen, having fun hanging out together,” says Jami.” Her brother, Michael, happens to reside at one of the homes that receives the meals. “This experience provided our team with an opportunity to share more about their lives. I found out that others have family members with special needs. We also had a chance to go around the Central Office and learn more about the company that takes care of my brother. Everyone was so welcoming. It’s probably the most Minnesota nice company I’ve seen. When you walk in you get to see photos of the homes and the people you’re impacting.”
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