TWIF does a lot of volunteer events with culinary organizations and meal provision programs in the Seattle community - we partner with organizations like Farestart, North Helpline and Chicken Soup Brigade. These events are a blast, and a great way to give back!
1. You learn to cook from professional chefs
Even if you’ve never cooked before- there is no need to be intimiated, these people have experience working with volunteers. With their expertise and guidance, your dish could be served in a five-star restaurant (or will at least be tasty and nutritious). Sure, preparing coleslaw and baked ziti for 1200 is a little different than making a cozy meal for two, but you’ll gain some valuable kitchen skills, like proper knife work!
2. There is never a shortage of things to do!
If this is your first time volunteering and you’re a little anxious about what you’ll be doing and who you’ll be doing it with - We recommend a meal prep event! There is always more to be done and the chefs and kitchen attendants are really great about telling you what to do (they also want to make sure that you don’t cut a finger off, so they keep an eye on everyone). If youare looking for an opportunity to keep busy, meal prep events are for you!
3. Everybody eats.
Food is one thing we have all have in common! It makes for a great conversation starter. The options are endless; What’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite restaurant in Seattle? Do you like to cook? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
4. They may feed you.
Maybe this hearkens back to those starving student days in college, but we recommend taking chef prepared (or chef instructed) meals. And, as one of our volunteers said, “count me in if there’s food.” At our Farestart volunteering events you get to sample what you make. Last time I volunteered I had a delicious jambalaya that we helped make.
5. You can see the impact you are making!
Sometimes when you volunteer it’s difficult to feel like you’ve really made a difference. If you’re volunteering at a benefit fundraiser, you don’t necessarily get to see what all the money you’ve raised goes toward. At meal prep events, sometimes you serve the food and are able to actually meet the people you are impacting. Other times you just see the staggering amounts of food you are making and sending out in a single day. Walking away from a meal-prep event, you really feel like you’ve made a difference.
Bonus reason: Hairnets are the great equalizer.
Worried about volunteering at an event where you don’t know anyone? At food events, almost everyone has to wear a hairnet. It’s kind of like a superhero cape. Put it on, and you can do anything! Or everybody looks so silly and it breaks the ice. Either way, it's win-win.
-Lily Rybarczyk - TWIF Volunteer Sherpa and hairnet supporter