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Collective Kitchen

Teaching at a project-based school provides stimulating learning opportunities and the ability to consider ways to connect our school with the broader community. It is an interactive, challenging environment that enables students to look beyond the classroom and focus on the world around them.

Each new project incorporates several layers of planning, preparation, and the integration of the students to actively engage, produce, and manage the project.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” ~ Proverbs 11:25

For many years, our Foods program has prepared a warm meal to serve people experiencing homelessness in downtown Hamilton. Also, the students have created culinary additions for functions within the school and provided meals to staff, students, and families in need. But we’ve never had prepared meals on-demand. And the students were very willing to engage in a Collective Kitchen project.

Culinary outreach enables our students to bless others while sharing the love of Christ through this simple act of kindness in a time when a meal is needed.

How could a collective kitchen enhance the lives of others in our community?

This question resulting in layers of discussion, planning, and work to learn about, fundraise, and implement this project within our school. The first phase for the Foods class was to work together on a funding application to HDCHs Student Project Fund. Then, we focused on ways to make this project sustainable, researched upright freezers, and discussed what recipes would be best to have in stock ready to go. We also learned about freezing food and what items we should include or avoid.

As a class, we made various recipes to try, compare, and decide if they were to be a part of our Collective Kitchen Menu plan or not.

Once the Student Project funding was in place, we purchased an upright freezer. As a class, we analyzed favourite recipes and selected the top soups, main entrees, and desserts that would freeze well. These meals were to be a blessing to someone who needed a warm, healthy meal in a time of illness, needs, or celebration.

The Results
The results included a variety of hearty soups, chicken pot pies, shepherds pie, cabbage rolls, meatballs and rice, raspberry and strawberry cheesecake, gluten-free caramel squares and a gluten-free peach rhubarb cobbler.

By the end of the school year, we had a variety of items in the Collective Kitchen freezer, including new types of healthy soups, apple crumble pies and banana bread. The focus included detailed ingredient lists with vegetarian, gluten, and dairy-free options. All the recipes were made from scratch with a focus on locally grown, organic options whenever possible.

Being able to able to provide meals to different individuals and families at the end of the school year was a real blessing. We are now ready to implement this ongoing project.

We hope and pray that through this project, we will continue to touch the lives of many individuals in our community and continue to “refresh” others in the years to come.

Pauline VanderVelde, Christians In Society & FOODs Teacher
Hamilton District Christian High