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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Ceres Community Project

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Coronavirus Relief Food Banks, 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 or low-cost, 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 3,200 young people have received over 170,000 hours of learning and mentoring in our three kitchens in Sonoma and Marin counties. 5,000 families in health crisis, most of them very low-income, have been nourished with 750,000 healing meals and a community of caring, often making long-term changes to their diets to help them stay healthy. Ceres has trained 13 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. We work to demonstrate the value of medically-tailored meals to insurers and government bodies, so that more people who are ill can benefit from food that supports their health, thereby lowering healthcare costs and improving outcomes.

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

Direct beneficiaries per year: 630 families facing a health crisis like cancer with free and low-cost, delivered healing meals. 431 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 and Marin counties (California)

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

Community Stories

139 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ceres is the most impactful organization I have ever worked with. Not only are the people at Ceres so purely dedicated to improving the lives of the community members we serve, but as a volunteer, I've never experienced a nonprofit so well-run and so committed to providing an environment of learning, support, and kindness to its volunteers. Ceres ignited my love for cooking, and is the reason I chose to pursue a career in nutrition and sustainable food systems. Hearing the stories and meeting some of the clients who have benefited from Ceres's work truly changed my world view and embedded in me a sense of empathy that has shaped the way I navigate all of my relationships.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our time receiving your gifts each week of delicious, healthy food is coming to a close.
We are so grateful for the weekly delivery of food, for the kind and loving volunteers who deliver each week and the delicious recipes you have shared.

As my husband battles Multiple Myeloma, I feel empowered to continue cooking in this
way, and happy that my husband has transitioned to mostly vegan over these past six
months. No sugar, no salt and no oil, no meat and dairy (with occasional slips here and there)
I, too, have improved my health and find all my aches and pains have subsided.

I am grateful beyond my ability to say, for the love and caring that has entered our lives
in the form of your food, during this difficult and painful experience of cancer. This has been
one of the most positive, life affirming experiences in both of our lives. Cannot rate you highly enough.

Love to everyone at Ceres and gratitude always,
Sincerely,

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been volunteering with Ceres about 8 months. I assist with food prep in the Sebastopol kitchen and have helped with food prep for a few fundraising events.

Everyone I’ve encountered — from Ceres’ staff to fellow volunteers— has been kind, appreciative and welcoming.

Ceres is a wonderful, well-run nonprofit that provides a much-needed service to community members facing a serious illness. I encourage teens and adults who are seeking a positive, fun volunteer opportunity to check out Ceres.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’m a 73 year old retired man with an extensive background in various kitchen positions. Cooking has been an avocation for 50 years or more.
I’ve been volunteering as a kitchen mentor for 4 months now at the Sebastopol kitchen working with teens who could be out and about enjoying their brief summer break but who have chosen to volunteer their time.
The healthy meals these dedicated teens produce and the skills they exercise benefit many needs of individuals and families in our community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a parent of a teen volunteer, I cannot speak highly enough about the Ceres program. My 16 year old son has been working in the kitchen for the past 1 1/2 years and loves it! Ceres is a phenomenal place for teens to learn the value of teamwork. It empowers them to step into leadership roles; learn what constitutes a healthy balanced diet; and master the skills to prepare those meals for themselves. Best of all, Ceres teaches teens empathy and shows them how they can give back in a meaningful way to their community. My son's passion for Ceres has inspired his younger sister to start volunteering there this fall.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a delivery angel, delivering meals to most appreciative clients and also a volunteer container sterilizer team member. I have watched firsthand how organic meals are prepared in the ultra clean kitchen and have interacted with teens as they learn all aspects of preparing meals. The chefs, teens, employees, and volunteers all work together in an amazing and friendly atmosphere. I love Ceres and their whole philosophy of healthy meals for healing.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a wonderful resource to have in our community. Ceres is an incredible place where people from various backgrounds come together to provide amazingly healthy meals for people in need. My daughter has been working in the kitchen for a year and truly loves it. She was just telling her younger brother how cool it is to learn to cook. What a gift Ceres is.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great place, good mission, amazing staff. I have been volunteering for about 7 months and have enjoyed it thoroughly!

Comments ( 1 )

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deborah 07/26/2019

Awesome! We're glad you love it, and thank you for reviewing us.

Benjamynn G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ceres is, simply stated, one of the most remarkable groups I've encountered in a life-time of volunteering and 'being of service.' It is indisputably a huge, virtual lifesaver, for many of its clients who are survivors of life-threatening cancers and other dis-eases. But as if that weren't amazing enough, it teaches teens the joy and value of giving, unconditionally to others, while also training on a usable skill of cooking, kitchen, and service work. Everyone who comes into contact with this fantastic organization is greatly enhanced.

Couldn't speak more highly of it.

B Gabriel

Comments ( 1 )

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deborah 07/26/2019

Wow! Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to write them out here. We deeply appreciate it. :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

Going through chemotherapy is a trying, difficult experience, especially since I live alone. Knowing that I would have excellent healthy meals from Ceres each week was a ray of sunshine beaming through that storm. Two years later, it still stands out.
Gary Parodi

Comments ( 1 )

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deborah 07/26/2019

Great to hear from you Gary. We're glad to hear we were successful in helping you in your time of need; thank you for giving us a review here!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have delivered nutritious beautiful food to grateful clients every week for 7 years. The healing I bring with me blesses all of us in a myriad of ways. I'm especially moved by the practice of engaging teens who grow and prepare the food with such love. It transfers to the clients.

Comments ( 1 )

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deborah 07/26/2019

Thank you for reviewing us (and for your dedication as a volunteer!). Seven years with us is very impressive!

Mireya R.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am currently taking CERES nutrition classes in Sonoma Valley Health Center and I am fascinated by the knowledge, experience and practicality of the instructors. They thought me so much about healthy eating and healing through food in 1 hour than I have known in years. I can’t say enough about this program.Thank you.

Comments ( 1 )

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deborah 07/26/2019

We're glad to hear our classes are just what you needed, and thank you for taking the time to rate us!

Kathy Huber H.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ceres Community Project is beyond just an important and beloved local organization providing nutritious meals for those suffering from life-altering illnesses. They are also serving as a model and leading advocate for "food as medicine", an exciting national movement that is working with health care insurers, providers and hospitals to explore how providing targeting nutrition to patients can improve outcomes and bring down health care costs.

Additionally, by having teen volunteers be a focus in the program, they are helping to motivate a new generation to actively participate in the care and well being of others. They're an inspiration to our community and increasingly to the rest of the country (and even internationally!).

Board Member

Rating: 5

There is nothing worse than being sick and hungry. I have been a advocate for Ceres since 2016. It is a rare organization that can create better health for people, communities and the plant. They accomplish this by teaching youth in our community (about 500 teens a year) to help nourish people (over 100,000 meals) facing health crisis by growing preparing and delivering nutritious food to those with serious illnesses.

The long term impact is that as Ceres live their values, these values become part of the teens DNA and we create the next generation of leaders.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

What an amazing organization!! The impact to the community and to those individuals that we serve is significant and needed for our challenging times. A life changing mission to feed those too sick to cook or feed themselves and engage the our future generation of leaders to understand their role in contributing to a healthy community is critical to our world today.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I recently joined the Board of Ceres Community Project, and it has proven to be one of the richest community and professional experiences of my 20+ year career in public health. Ceres is a non-profit that strives for continued excellence and positively impacts the health of its clients, community, and employees. The Ceres team harnesses its collective strength to improve the health and well-being of individuals and families across Marin and Sonoma counties, with an important emphasis on providing nourishing meals to those with chronic health conditions.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ceres is an amazing organization that offers youth a place to learn about the impact nutrition has on health as well as cooking skills taught by professional chefs and then along with adult volunteers delivers healthy meals to clients who are recovering from critical illnesses. There is no other program that includes medically tailored meals, and community involvement from youth to seniors and has such a profound impact.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

Ceres works in Sonoma and Marin Counties, and provides about 100,000 organic meals a year for mostly low-income people who are struggling because of a health condition - primarily cancer and heart disease. The meals are made by teens – about 420 a year who receive culinary and food systems education, job training and leadership development. The teens carry these lessons and connections with their communities into their adult lives, and by following then we've learned how impactful it is. The clients receive more than a nutritious and delicious meal for their whole family, they continually tell us how important it is for them to know they have support and care from their community.
Ceres has also trained 14 communities around the US and now Denmark to replicate Ceres' model, and Ceres continues to support these organizations with education and shared resources.
Importantly, California has now begun the first statewide pilot to look at the cost savings potential and efficacy of including medically tailored meals as part of the care for patients with congestive heart failure.
This is a well-run, efficient organization that provides a valuable service to everyone concerned, and is having a broader impact in showing the importance of nutrition in healing.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as a Chef Mentor at Ceres. I loved how inclusive Ceres was with their volunteers - there were volunteer appreciation events and we were always well taken care of with breaks and food during our shifts. The appreciation events were really special because Ceres shared other parts of the program w/volunteers (client speakers, teen speakers). This is where you really get to see how your time is impacting the community directly. Ceres classes were also offered to their volunteers for free. Learn and do good a the same time!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a fabulous organization that deserves our gratitude and support. Volunteering at Ceres is such a blessing - you are a valued participant in helping those in our community in need during a difficult time in their lives, and you are surrounded by other awesome individuals with such positive energy. The staff is fabulous and the teen volunteers are amazing. Healing with food and educating us all in healthy eating, developing skills, awareness of our environment, and all done with great love. The benefits of this organization are multileveled. Ceres is the best !!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ceres is an incredible organization that serves those facing health challenges by providing them with delicious, nutritious and beautiful food. Our teens, guided by our gifted staff and adult mentors, are the heart of Ceres. They learn the importance of good nutritional choices, taking care of the earth, giving to others, kitchen skills, gardening, teamwork, leadership, and the positive impact they make in our community through their volunteer work. There are also classes for clients and the community teaching good nutrition. We have a fantastic cookbook. And beautiful, productive gardens. The impact of this work is far-reaching, life-changing and vitally important and is done with great love. It is an honor to support Ceres financially and as a volunteer.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our son learned so much about cooking and gardening trough Ceres while also gaining self confidence and learning about responsibility and helping others. What a wonderful organization to have in our community!

Dianne25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ceres was there for me when I was recovering from cancer surgery. I try to be there for them whenever I can.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

After 18 weeks of chemo, surgery, and 5 weeks of daily radiation, friends and co-workers gifted me several months of home-delivered, nutritious, and delicious food. I was assigned a personal helper to guide me through the process. The information provided regarding healing foods was very helpful and could easily be incorporated and integrated into my "traditional" treatment. I also appreciated that clients were always encouraged to speak with their Dr. prior to using some of the broths and teas. I was fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends throughout my treatment, but I always loved the notes, pictures, and small gifts that were included with my meals. After completing my Ceres meals, I was asked to speak to the teens and staff about my experience. So proud to have this wonderful organization in my backyard. Jill

Marlene A.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was an observer as I watched Ceres beautiful food delivered to a friend as she went through the arduous chemo treatments. She was nurtured physically & emotionally and today is a healthy woman whose diet is similar to how she learned to eat from Ceres. What a blessing Ceres is to everyone they touch..!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The impact that Ceres has, both locally and nationally, continues to increase. They focus on building community, providing healthy meals to those suffering from illnesses and they develop teens to be future leaders

Previous Stories

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.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer and donor for Ceres. The healthy nourishing food helps those with acute illness such as cancer build strength while recovering. Ceres is the best non profit I have ever volunteered for.

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Donor

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer, a donor and former client. I love the work that Ceres does and how important they have grown in the Sonoma County community.

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1 Sara161

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ceres has my heart. They helped my Mom when she was undergoing treatment! I volunteer there once a week and enjoy every minute I am there.

Previous Stories
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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.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

It's been a privilege to serve on the Board of Ceres for the last 4 years. I have volunteered and served on the boards of several nonprofits including national organizations and none have been run better than Ceres. Under Cathryn Couch's leadership Ceres has grown from a small summer project to wonderful organization, changing lives not just here in Sonoma County, but now spreading across the country. Ceres is mission driven and the heart of mission is improving and connecting community both on the near term and for the long game. There is no doubt of the impact of delivering healthy, nutrious food to those dealing with acute medical illness, but perhaps more subtle but no less important is the impact to our community when we empower our youth to make positive changes in their own lives and to the communities where they live. That is a benefit we will reap for generations.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I learned about Ceres several years ago, and was incredibly impressed by the work they do serving people in the midst of a health crisis, creating community connections and empowering young people. The work Ceres does became even more meaningful when I was going through cancer treatment myself, and realized how debilitating and demoralizing the process can be. Ceres is there to provide healthy delicious meals to people when they need it most -- regardless of their ability to pay. It's an incredible organization with a big heart, and a strong, smart, effective management team and staff. Our community is so lucky to have Ceres!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm honored to be a board member of Ceres Community Project and am impressed with each interaction I have with the staff, volunteers, and community served. The impact this organization is making makes me proud to be a small part of creating an ecosystem of empowered youth creating and serving healing foods. Ceres Community Project is making a huge difference in our community and is a model for food as medicine.

Joya H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Ceres for over 4 years, known many friends and community members who have been clients, receiving healthy, delicious meals made with love by our teen volunteers. Ceres has something for everybody to do, in the kitchen, garden or office. It is a joy and a rich learning experience for everyone. Ceres has the most integrity and respect of any the many volunteer organizations I've been involved with. And we have a lot of fun working as a team.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a former staff member, moving on to further my career was less hard because I knew I'd be welcomed back as a volunteer. But seeing things from the other side is quite beautiful. The appreciation you receive as a volunteer, the comraderie you can feel with other volunteers, and the knowledge that you are making changes in the world are all quite moving. I only wish I had more time (and money) to give!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We were one of Ceres first clients when my husband had cancer. In the decade since, both of my sons have worked as teen volunteers in the kitchen, garden and catering events. I have done some volunteering and taken nutritional cooking classes. We support several nonprifits, but Ceres is my favorite. I know from these many perspectives, the deep integrity of this organization, as well as the brilliance of its design--powerfully changing the lives of those who are ill and their families, as well as those teens and adults who serve and experientially learn so much about healthy eating and cooking, teamwork, and the ability to make a positive difference in the world. Supporting Ceres uplifts my heart.

Donor

Rating: 5

My patients have benefited so much from Ceres so...I became a donor. Good nutrition facilitates every other aspect of health. Thank you, Ceres, staff and volunteers for all you do!

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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

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.

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Gordon7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Excellent source for healthy, nutritious, organic, locally donated food turned into meals for health/medically impaired, house bound clients . Delivered on a weekly basis by volunteer delivery. Training ground for teen cooks for life skills in the kitchen. Completely dependent on volunteers and donations (food and money). Minuscule staff, running 5 days a week for the needs of the clients. Slowly expanding operations as staff and resources expand (food, volunteers, mentors for teen cooks, delivery).

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Ceres Project is an amazing organization. I have supported them in the past by donating to their auction fundraiser, but never thought I'd be a client, too. After major cancer surgery, they brought healthy, healing, farm-to-table meals for my husband and me every week for 8 weeks, which allowed me to focus on healing and my husband to focus on work and all the other things that I was not able to do. The meals are delicious, and we even had left-overs. They were on time every time, and I had 2 different deliverers, both of whom were helpful and pleasant. I have donated to and worked with many non-profit organizations and cannot say enough about this group. They truly have EVERYTHING figured out to do the best they can for the clients, the workers, and the environment. How could you possibly beat that?

1 Leona J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer now for over three years working primarily as a client liaison. I love what I do acting as a link between the clients we serve and the Ceres program. Furthermore, I have always felt valued as a volunteer, and I've never felt pressured to do more than I wanted. There are many ways to serve in the Ceres community. There is a volunteer position for just about anyone who cares to join .For me it has been a very good fit. It might be for you too!
Leona Judson

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Ceres Project in 2013. Working as an Adult Mentor chef was a great experience, not only for sharing cooking skills and knowledge with the student volunteers but getting to make wonderful, healing, tasty meals. Then in August 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily I caught it early, but I opted to do both Chemo and radiation as well as eastern healing practices, acupuncture, massage, yoga and meditation. I became a client of a Ceres and received the incredible healing, beautifully prepared meals, delivered to my door for 16 weeks. Being on the receiving end was difficult for me, but I got to experience the whole process, and give feedback, as well. Ceres is an incredible project that has helped so many people maintain their strength in a difficult time and their hopes in getting their lives back. Think you Ceres.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was one of the first teen volunteers to work with Ceres in Marin, and worked with the program for one of the longest stretches, from when it began in 2010 until I left for college in 2014, although I had begun to taper off in the last few months. One of my family's close friends was also one of the first client Ceres of Marin had, and prepping, cooking, packaging, and delivering to her each week gave me such a better overall outlook on life, the struggles of others, and what it means to be happy, and those are things that I still reflect on and value now almost 6 years since my first day. I also got to see firsthand the value the program brought, and continues to bring, to the clients, their friends and families, and the smaller communities they participate in within the county. After working with Ceres for 2 years, I was also able to use the skills I learned in that time to go on a get jobs in restaurants in the local area and continue learning about food and cooking, which are two of my greatest passions. I think that often with Ceres it is easy to see the value that the clients get out of such a program, but what I think is truly special about this organization is that the passion that each individual brings to the table gives an immense amount back to those who dedicate their time to this cause. Without Ceres, I cannot say that I would be nearly as empathetic or outgoing of a person and I definitely wouldn't have the chops to work in the local food scene.

1 Herlinda H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've helped cook here. And have met many families that have received meals from Ceres. They say it changed their lives and morale to have these deliveries of healthy food when life was tough.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This project does it all:

teaches teen to cook healthy meals and gives them useful job skills

provides healthy meals to needy cancer patients, teaching them better eating habits

helps the environment by supporting local organic food sources and the use of fresh vegetables, helping the which reduces meat and packaged food consumption

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ceres serves patients, but my experience is with how they enliven teens and infuse the community with energy for healthy living with their garden, their classes and their teen training!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Unbelievably great idea to help people this way. A lifesaver.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After volunteering with many organizations over the years, my connection with Ceres has continued for the last 6 years because of its contributions to the community on so any different levels, from teen development, to nutrition education, to helping folks with life threatening illnesses. I have watched Ceres grow over the years in a way few non profits have.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ceres is absolutely on of the best experiences I've had in my life. Working for Ceres is such a fulfilling experience. Through Ceres I have been able to meet wonderful people, learn utile new skills, and open doors to opportunities I would have never encountered otherwise.

1 Carly F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After being part of this amazing project, in its ever flowing kitchens for three years now I can honestly say Ceres has changed my life for the better. Once just another teenage girl, Ceres has given me more motivation than I ever could inspire without it. I now have a life path I hope to take and achieve as much and more as Ceres has in my own career. Realizing what helping others can do for the self has been an amazing gift. I hope I never have to stop being part of something so powerful as cooking goof food for a community who loves and appreciates it.

1 Barbara194

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've begun volunteering as part of the Ceres Project and am astonished, not surprised but overwhelmed, by the clear organization of the program, how volunteers know exactly what to do because it's so simply laid out, even as Ceres grows so fast that all the people who work and volunteer will be stretched. I have confidence both creative and realistic solutions will be found. I just hope that more and more people who previously had few opportunities to eat the nourishing great food that Ceres offers will have the chance to be nourished as Ceres can nourish. Barbara

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ceres seems to be the most pure of mission of any organization I have known. They really are all about bringing healthy, healing, nutritious food to people in need and teaching the teens about good food, cooking, gardening and giving. As a volunteer, it is a privilege to be a part of helping people in need and there is much I have learned along the way, which I really appreciate. I have been volunteering as a liaison and kitchen helper for about three years.
Connie Bowen

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so impressed with Ceres. The mission and true sincerity to help clients who have cancer (and other illnesses) to boost their immune system, provide meals for them and their family and to provide and educate them about many other resources is such a benefit. And they are teaching teenagers to cook these meals that are delivered to clients. Ceres has HUGE support from the community, volunteers and the city of Sebastopol because they are so pure in their mission. And then there is the educational component. The clients get some education as do the volunteers and it is an impressive resource of knowledge about organic, immune boosting foods and herbs. And there are classes. I am happy to volunteer because I can see so clearly the enormous benefit and love they extend to clients who are very much in need.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over the last three years I have watched Ceres grow, and I have been growing myself. I have become a more confident cook and a strong leader becuase of my involvement with Ceres. I have taken on the role of teen leader and am now serving as a youth board member, these unique oppurtuinites have made me stretch and change in ways I had not known I was able to. Ceres is a wonderful organization that has blessed the lives of countless indivuals, and I feel so lucky to be a part of this wonderful community.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ceres is one of the most well organized and managed organizations I have been involved with. All donors should rest easy that their financial donation will work as hard as possible for those who benefit from Ceres wonderful efforts!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering in the kitchen and garden for two and a half year's and my love for Ceres has only grown. Cooking with all of the amazing chefs, and gardening with Sara has made me want to persue the culinary arts.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ceres is a remarkable program. I'm a physician and I see the link between health and healthy eating, especially when battling serious illness. But Ceres does so much more than simply provide nutritious, delicious meals. Connecting people to the community gives them hope and strength, and then when you layer on the youth volunteer program which helps the teens develop their own sense of community giving as well as healthy eating habits you wind up with incredible synergy that improves the present and promises a better future. I am continually amazed at what Ceres is able to accomplish and very proud to be associated with the organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I delivered a meal to a client's house I was really moved by the client's reaction. In a few minutes I learned how consumed they were with worrying about treatments, nausea and test results and the ever-present and oppressive fatigue. It was clear how worrying about something like food - let alone a nutritious meal - was far from their mind. Being able to lift a burden for that family in some small way was incredibly moving. Ceres makes that possible for thousands of people a year.

Codi H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I remember not really being excited about going but my mom asked me to at least just try one day and if it didn't work out then no harm done. Coming home afterwards I was on the biggest high of enthusias, I could not stop smiling or talking about it. That was two almost 3 years ago. In that time I've gained a confidence in leadership, task management, and a way to be in a industrial kitchen setting which has given me a leg up when it came for me to get a job in customer service and catering. All the people in the kitchen are awesome to work with and just be yourself around, the adults listen and hold such a wonderful space for you to step into new roles and help you grow in every way possible, the teens are happy and bring their own strengths to each task (even on their first day). I can say with no doubt that if I hadn't come across Ceres I would not come close to the person I am today.