By Morgan Theophil
For The Register-Guard
view original article here
While caring for her husband with cancer, Jinny Ralls said having healthy, beautiful food delivered weekly to her door in 2014 was a relief.
Recipients of food made by the nonprofit Positive Community Kitchen, Jinny Ralls and her husband, Dick Ralls, were given the weekly meals for a few months in 2014 to make caring for a family member battling illness a little easier, according to Jinny Ralls.
“It was incredibly helpful to be served food from this nonprofit, and the meals just blew me away,” she said. “They were so delicious, so healthy and even so beautifully presented, and it has been such a help while caring for my husband.”
Positive Community Kitchen helps individuals and families in the community struggling with life-threatening illness by providing free, nourishing meals to up to 75 people for up to 12 weeks.
Jinny Ralls, now a Positive Community Kitchen stewardship council member, was among the more than 100 people in attendance at Positive Community Kitchen’s Earth Day fundraiser Sunday afternoon at The Shedd Institute. The teen-led fundraiser featured a silent art auction, live music and delicious bites made by Positive Community Kitchen chefs.
With a focus of connecting and educating teens, the nonprofit organization inspires local youths to learn and grow as community members through volunteer experiences as cooks, gardeners and board leaders, according to Positive Community Kitchen Executive Director Megan Richter.
“More than anything, what we are able to do here is show kids they can make a difference in the community, by giving them the tools they need to make an impact,” Richter said. “With enough tools and support, they are helping this community and they really flourish.”
Teen board member Alex Dzubay, a 17-year-old South Eugene High School student, said he has been volunteering with the organization for a little more than two years.
Dzubay said he gathers alongside other teen volunteers on Mondays and Tuesdays to cook the healthy, balanced food given to the community. Meals, which consist of two soups, two entrees, an entree salad and a dessert, are delivered by Positive Community Kitchen adult “delivery angels.”
“We really believe in helping with this to be able to give meals to people that are made with care,” he said.
Numerous teen volunteers were present at the Earth Day event, serving samples of the healthy, original recipes made by Positive Community Kitchen chefs. The food included lettuce wraps filled with hummus and vegetables, peppers filled with quinoa, spinach and feta cheese, and garbanzo bean chocolate cupcakes.
As the teens served, attendees browsed the nearly 100 pieces of donated art up for auction, listened and danced to live local band Jenny, and learned more about Positive Community Kitchen’s mission.
“I love being a part of this because I care about healthy living and a wellness-focused lifestyle, and getting to help the community through cooking,” said teen board member Bliss Gutierrez, who said she has been volunteering with Positive Community Kitchen during all four years of high school.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Positive Community Kitchen programs, including the free food delivery to community members battling life-threatening illnesses, free cooking classes and continued mentorship to the organization’s youths.
While Dick Ralls is still battling cancer, Jinny Ralls said she is grateful for how Positive Community Kitchen benefited her and her husband, and is honored to continue serving as a volunteer.
“It’s just such a multipronged nonprofit, helping teenagers learn about cooking healthily and serving others, and providing so much care to people in need,” she said. “This is beneficial to our community on so many wonderful levels.”