Local chefs provide new stove for Springfield Community Center
The Springfield Community Center, an Ozarks Food Harvest After-School Food Program site, received a generous donation of a new commercial-grade stove from a local executive chefs’ group.
Since 2010, the American Culinary Federation’s Springfield-Branson Chefs’ Association has volunteered at the Springfield Community Center to provide area children with lunch or dinner meals that are typically served at restaurants like Leong’s, Fire & Ice, Twin Oaks Country Club, Cook’s Kettle at Victory Mission, Nakato Japanese Steakhouse as well as demonstrations from food vendors, such as Sysco.
“The chefs provide more than just food and meals at the After-School Food Program,” said Calvin Allen, director of the Springfield Community Center. “They develop relationships and create bonds, providing a complete educational experience for the children.”
The center’s old stove was not operating properly and was in bad repair. Allen was concerned the stove was prohibiting the chefs’ ability to adequately prepare quality meals and provide the kind of educational enrichment training needed for children in the program. So he reached out to Aaron Gregory, executive chef at Fire & Ice restaurant and treasurer of the Springfield-Branson Chefs’ Association for help. Fortunately, the local group offered to purchase a new stove for the center.
Chef Gregory said that the experiences he has had over the four years he has spent volunteering with the center’s After-School Food Program have been amazing.
“The kids are excited when we come in to teach them how to cook and we as chefs get excited to teach these classes and show the kids how science, math and nutrition are important elements in the culinary world. We love being able give back and open kids’ minds to new experiences.”
Allen said the center is grateful to have the new stove to continue the work that began when The Food Bank started the feeding program in 1998.
“The new stove will allow the center to provide cooking classes again, which was one of our most popular programs,” said Allen. “We are blessed to have the executive chefs volunteer at the community center to help kids reach their full potential.”
The Springfield Community Center is a member agency of Ozarks Food Harvest that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner meals for nearly 100 children annually and provides food assistance for approximately 35 families each week.
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