Grantee Spotlight: Ceres Community Project
Ceres Community Project (Ceres), located in Marin and Sonoma counties, empowers teens to develop leadership and healthy lifestyle skills while simultaneously aiding people with serious health issues. Teen volunteers, trained by Ceres staff members in organic gardening and healthy cooking, apply their acquired skills to the real world by growing food and preparing free and low-cost healthy and organic meals to low-income, critically ill patients and their families.
Since 2007, approximately 2,300 teens have volunteered their time and energy to feed more than 3,700 families over 550,000 organic meals. Studies have shown that proper nutrition is essential for illness recovery; however, up to 80% of cancer patients experience malnourishment during treatment. Ceres’ commitment to using organic and local foods in its meals ensures that patients are receiving fresh and nutrient-rich whole foods during a particularly difficult time in their lives. In addition to its core meal delivery program, Ceres provides nutrition education classes to community members and supports the replication of its program model through an online tool kit and technical assistance to 12 communities throughout the United States.
The Bothin Foundation recently awarded a grant to Ceres to equip its new kitchen and café at Social Advocates for Youth’s Dream Center in Santa Rosa. The kitchen, now supplied with a tilting skillet, commercial steamer, two-door freezer, and a glass front refrigerated merchandiser, will not only allow for the production of countless meals, but will also enable more youth to explore a potential career in the culinary arts field. Along with its after-school youth volunteer program, Ceres’ new program site includes a Café open to the public serving organic, locally-sourced foods consistent with Ceres’ food philosophy, and a full-service catering program, both of which provide job training and paid internships for youth.
The Bothin Foundation is proud to support Ceres’ important work in the Bay Area. To learn more, please visit their website: www.ceresproject.org