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Sister Alice Marie on Building Partnerships

on August 4 | in Guest, Pilot Program | by | with No Comments

SAM Opening Day

It’s a bit like having an older sister say “move over and share your room with me.” You love the idea but when she actually moves her stuff into your precious space, you wonder why you ever thought it was going to be fun.

And thus it was the first few days of June when LA Kitchen moved into St. Vincent Meals on Wheels Kitchen to launch its innovative pilot program focusing on culinary expertise, nutrition education and food-justice advocacy.

You would think that in 16,500 square feet, the kitchen wouldn’t get crowded with just an extra 15 or 20 people running around adding to the commotion. But it took a bit of adjustment I can assure you. For one thing, I had to turn down the volume on my Johnny Cash music I love so much. And for another, we couldn’t differentiate the LA Kitchen volunteers from the Meals on Wheels volunteers. And so it went, but I got used to not playing my music so loud and LA Kitchen issued name tags for their volunteers.

Like so much else in life, we all weathered the storm and now coexist happily and effectively in the Meals on Wheels kitchen. We still produce 4,000 meals a day to go out to homebound seniors while LA Kitchen stands with us to train its first class of Chef/Nutrition Advocates. The partnership is truly unique and we are all learning from one another. While we provide space for their program at no cost, LA Kitchen provides fresh produce prepped by their students at no cost to us. It is a little like bartering, something we used to do during the Depression. LA Kitchen is already providing enough prepped produce for us for two days of meals, that is 8000 meals! This is the kind of math we like.

We have learned a lot – a lot about each other and a lot about how we can work together to elevate the understanding of senior hunger while we help each other grow and mature into thoughtful and compassionate stewards for our seniors. This is our 37th year of answering the call for meals here in the City of Angels. And this year, we had some new angels who joined us in answering that call. Thank you to LA Kitchen for joining us to change some lives!

– Sister Alice Marie Quinn, Founder and Program Director of St. Vincent Meals on Wheels
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