Newly diagnosed with cancer, Ceres delivered meals as I recovered from treatment. They have helped me learn about inserting healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle into my routine. I am a very poor chef, and I look forward to taking their cooking classes to tackle that challenge. I appreciate this program being in place. I think it is unique and a loving service to the community.
My name is Rebecca and I have been a teen volunteer at Ceres for three years.
I would like to share a memory from a few months ago to help bring you into a typical afternoon in the Ceres kitchen.
“I gather in a circle with eight other teens and our chef mentors. Today, Diane joins us to share her experience as a cancer survivor. She thanks us for three months of wholesome meals delivered to her doorstep, which nourished her through chemotherapy. Before leaving, Diane adds that her family’s favorite dish was the fish tikka masala. I smile. I remember cooking that Indian dish two weeks ago. She smiles. Dispersing across the kitchen, we chop, roast, and sauté, transforming local produce into tasty dishes. Stirring, garnishing, and packaging, we prepare meals for 40 community members in need.
When a new volunteer accidentally adds too much broth to the North African stew, as a teen leader at Ceres, I remind him that there are no mistakes, only modifications. We laugh and rename the stew a soup. Taste testing the sesame dressing, I add a dash of rice wine vinegar, confidently straying from the recipe. I leave the kitchen to goodbyes and see-you-next-weeks, excited to don my chef coat again next Thursday afternoon.”
Ceres has sparked my love of cooking and inspired me to spend countless hours experimenting in my own kitchen at home. But Ceres is about so much more than just food. Ceres is a safe space where I have built the confidence to trust in my creativity and problem solve when things don’t go right. Ceres is where I want to be every Thursday afternoon and I am so lucky to be part of this welcoming group of people who have transformed a shared passion for cooking into action in our greater community.
I applaud Ceres Community project and it is an honor to be part of this community. The staff are caring, thoughtful, creative and respectful of each other, clients and volunteers. The Leadership Team strives to nurture a positive, respectful and innovative culture while being excellent stewards of all financial funds received.
I am honored to be a board member for Ceres Community Project. It is our mission to restore locally-grown, organic whole food to its place as the foundation of health. We do this by educating people about the connection between what we eat and our health and we do that by:
- providing nourishing whole foods meals to individuals and families dealing with serious illness; we have provided 82,000 free meals over the past four years to people with cancer and other life threatening illnesses
- bringing teenagers into the kitchen to volunteer as our program’s chefs so they can learn to cook and eat healthy foods while making a meaningful contribution to our community. Each week they prepare more than 500 beautiful, delicious and nourishing free meals;
- offering a wide range of classes, lectures and our Nourishing Connections Cookbook to help everyone in our community make healthier food choices.
- replicating our model around the country to make a national impact in addition to our local impact.
Since Ceres Community Project began in 2007, more than 350 young people from at least twenty-five Sonoma County schools have volunteered over 9,000 hours in our kitchen. Working together, these amazing teens have prepared over 80,000 meals for nearly 400 local families.
This service is a life saver! I don't feel anxiety about having to buy expensive meals and prepare them! I enjoy the menu and really appreciate the extra healthy goodies. The process is very easy to apply and the volunteers are saints. I can't say enough good things about it and continue to refer people to them.
Volunteering as a Teen Mentor is gratifying to me on several levels. The teens are fascinating, fun, curious, and willing to work, learn, and grow. I'm learning new ways of communicating expectations, managing resources, and preparing healthy food. The best part is hearing client's stories of what healthy meals, prepared with love, mean to their recovery.
I was very surprised to find out first hand how much Ceres had to offer to me. The food they provided when I needed it was excellent. They also gave a lot of support to me in person and on the phone. When I could later get back on my feet, I attended two cooking classes and learned a lot about how to choose and prepare food for health. I thought by now I would have known everything I needed to know, but their research and presentation gave me much new to me and valuable information. I also got to experience the young people learning how to grow food at the farm. It was good to meet them and see how they were on healthy paths at young ages. I don't know how to express enough the value Ceres is to me and to the community. At classes I met others who had similar glowing reports about Ceres and their help. I feel confident in the Ceres staff for providing what people like me need in times of need. Thanks for all that you do. Harvey Bell
This spring I had a reocurance of leukemia. I was losing weight fast and could not get my appetite back. No matter what I ate the weight just kept dropping. I was searching for some help and found Ceres. After talking to the enrollment person I decided to start the weekly delivery of meals to my home. The meals have been wonderful. They are just the right amount and they have been expertly prepared and tasty. When all foods before tasted like cardboard these meals were delicious. After several months of being on the program my weight has returned to my regular level. Thank you soo much for being there.
I am receiving good and delicious food at a time in my life when I don't have the energy to cook. I a person who is low income I am eligible for free food programs. The difference between Ceres and and all the other programs is that all the food from Ceres is organic and not loaded with sugar as are most other prepared foods. All the food I get from Ceres supports my health. I have also been able to maintains a healthy weight while eating their food.
I decided to volunteer with Ceres because people I cared about were getting healthy meals. But when I looked into the program I found it was so much more. I volunteer as a receptionist at the front desk and can hear the teens in the kitchen listening to music, talking together and working hard. I hear them interacting with the adult chefs. Every so often I hear a crash and then I hear how the chefs react with understanding and humor. Every volunteer, including me, is apprecited and welcomed and thanked at least once during their shift. I love the fact that teens are learning about cooking, compassion, leadership, working with others, giving back, nutrition, gardening, and much more. Yes Ceres provides nourishing meals sent with love to people with acute illness, but that's just one aspect. It's a brilliant model that even has a system for teaching other communities world wide how to replicate it. I'm very happy and proud to be a member of Ceres Community Project. Pam Neuberg
Ceres is an incredible nonprofit! They provide an invaluable service to cancer patients (such as myself) and do it with warmth & compassion. They are also very organized and professional. I was unlucky to have breast cancer but lucky to have Ceres support me and my family (two small kids) during my treatments.