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Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Food, Health, Health Support, Nutrition

Mission: We create health for people, communities and the planet through love, healing food and empowering the next generation. Key facets of our approach include: ♥ Supporting individuals dealing with serious illness with free, delivered and nutrient-rich prepared meals, nutrition education, and a community of caring. ♥ Involving young people as volunteer gardeners and chefs, giving them direct, hands-on experience of the difference that fresh, healthy foods and community make, and of their own capacity to contribute. ♥ Educating the broader community, including health professionals, about the connection between fresh, healthy food, strong social networks, healing and wellness. ♥ Connecting people of all ages and from all walks of life to one another, and to their value as an integral part of the community.

Results: More than 1,400 young people have received over 75,000 hours of learning and mentoring in our four kitchens in Sonoma, Marin and Alameda counties. 2,000 families in health crisis, most of them very low-income, have been nourished with 400,000 healing meals and a community of caring, often making long-term changes to their diets to help them stay healthy. Ceres has trained 11 additional communities to replicate the Healing Meals model across the country, and reached millions of people with information on the connection between food and the health of individuals and the environment that sustains us.

Target demographics: Create health for people, communities and planet, through love, healing food and empowering the next generation

Direct beneficiaries per year: 642 families facing a health crisis like cancer with free and low-cost, delivered healing meals. 437 teens gained job, leadership and life skills, and discovered their power to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors.

Geographic areas served: Sonoma, Marin and Alameda counties (California)

Programs: Healing Meals Program, Teen Chef & Gardener Program, Teen Leader Program

Community Stories

104 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I remember when I first heard about the Ceres Project...an organization that invites adult community members and teens to help grow organic food and then cook it up so that it can be delivered to very sick people and their families. It sounded brilliant to me, especially the part about inviting and empowering teens to participate in community building and service.
All this while having fun and socializing in a positive setting and learning some quite practical skills for personal or professional application! I eventually became a volunteer, first helping to maintain the beautiful landscape around the Ceres building on Bodega Ave., then as a garden mentor working with teens and learning together how to grow healthy, organic fruits and veg. I am so grateful for all of the thoughtfulness of the organization ON EVERY LEVEL. Please invest in them with your time, money or spreading the word about them. They are so valuable to our community and a wonderful template for other communities to learn from.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a donor...My granddaughter Shannon Gallup is a volunteer.........
She loves Ceres.....
A wonderful way to introduce Volunteering that will go with them in the future

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

(1/4) I was referred to Ceres through my doctor at the Sebastopol Community Health Center. She raved about Ceres and signed me up for a class. I was blown away

Sara161

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with Ceres for over a year now. I love Ceres and the work they do. My Mother was a client with Ceres and received healing meals for 6 months while she was building her health back up after a treatment that left her weak. Being a part of the magic that happens at Ceres is the greatest gift and is rewarding in a way that is indescribable. I am grateful beyond measure.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Andrea145

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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