Shawnee Mission Culinary Arts and Hospitality students have been cooking to serve an important cause this week at the Center for Academic Achievement.
They worked together to prepare and distribute 1,000 meals for families in the Shawnee Mission community in partnership with Pete’s Garden, the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation, and Lucky International Trading, Inc.
Student chefs worked in the kitchen making pot pies to distribute to 250 families.
It was an amazing experience working in the kitchen on this goal, according to Shawnee Mission Northwest junior and Culinary Arts student Keith Buford.
“It feels good to know I’m going to be able to help people,” Buford shared. “Plus, I’m strengthening my skills. It’s amazing. So many organizations came together to achieve this goal: feed families. I like this goal.”
This effort is part of a pilot program called Kids Feeding Kids, led by Pete’s Garden. The organization works with the goal of making it easier for families to share healthy meals together at home.
To support Kids Feeding Kids, Pete’s Garden partners with high school culinary arts programs to distribute meals to children and families. Pete’s Garden recently received a $15,000 grant from the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation to continue this pilot program. Many of the food products used in preparation were in-kind donations from David King of Lucky International Trading, Inc.
“By having kids prepare meals that go to families, I’m hoping that’s another way for families to learn the importance and value of sharing a meal together,” noted Tamara Weber, executive director and founder of Pete’s Garden.
Culinary arts students have multiple opportunities throughout the year to engage with the community. Every student enrolled works to complete Public Learning Experiences (PLEs). PLEs include hosting their student-run restaurant, the Broadmoor Bistro, and community service opportunities like this one. Students and instructors are proud to be able to apply student skills and energy to give back to the community, according to entrepreneurial leadership instructor Matt Ziegenhorn.
“This brings together the humanitarian side of what we do in the culinary arts,” notes Ziegenhorn. “Food provides safety, nourishment, happiness, and comfort. We’ll be working together to provide all of these elements at a high quality and scale because it is always important to support our community.”
This effort was a chance to help do the right thing by serving the community, Shawnee Mission East sophomore Asher Olson expressed.
“It’s awesome to be able to help people. I hope people will enjoy it and know that everyone here cares for them and wants to help out,” Olson added.
Shawnee Mission Signature Programs, including Culinary Arts and Hospitality, provide high school students the opportunity to explore unique areas of study in preparation for specialized academic and future career opportunities. Approximately 1,000 students participate in Signature Programs each year.