By Shaan Patel, Shivam Patel, Ritvik Dalla
Scroll down below to view the work accomplished by a team apart of Dr. Kramer's COLL220 class, Service Learning Practicum, this past semester.
Over 700,000 individuals in Sacramento County are food insecure, with no sign of this number decreasing (ABC10, 2022). Food insecurity, defined by the uncertain or limited access to food, is an issue that needs attention as it causes an increased risk of chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, or anxiety.
Many nonprofit organizations in the community want to help the unhoused and others who are food insecure by providing hot meals. However, home kitchens are typically not large enough to make enough food. Some groups turn to community kitchens to address their need, however, the distinct lack of information stumps the majority of their efforts. Alchemist CDC was informed of the issue when various nonprofits reached out to them asking to use their personal commercial kitchen, however their facilities are already reserved for their Alchemist Kitchen Incubator program and Micro Enterprise Academy. Alchemist inspired us to address the issue and recommended that we contact nearby community kitchens to ask if they are willing to rent out their kitchens.
We contacted a number of community kitchens through phone calls and emails to determine if they were willing to rent out their community kitchen to help prepare meals for those experiencing homelessness. We prioritized places with large community kitchens which included schools, churches, gurdwara, and community centers. Only a few responded and even fewer were available to be used to the general public. However this information could be used by others to onboard more kitchens and expand the reach of this project and add to the map of community kitchens in the Sacramento region.
What we Learned
Most importantly, we learned about the severity of food insecurity in the United States. And the consequences it has on people. Understanding of this topic will stay with us for the rest of our lives, into our career as healthcare professionals as we aim to serve the community in any way we can.
We also learned how difficult it is to reach out to and work with public and private organizations. Before starting this project, our community partner, Jacob Sacks, instructed us to use all means possible to contact the community kitchens. At first we were confused why we needed more than one way to contact an organization. Throughout the project, many of our calls and emails were left unanswered, pushing us to visit places in person as a means of contact.
Lastly, we learned that many people have the capacity in their heart to help the community, but sometimes aren’t able to if they don’t have the resources. We hope our project allows these individuals to fulfill their desire to uplift the community.
Our service at Mirasol Village working with Alchemist CDC.