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Caritas Community Kitchen and Kids in the Kitchen

October 18, 2013

Texas – Friday, October 11

I spent my morning taking care of 2 donations (neither place would be open on the weekend, so I took care of both of them today). When I was researching donation possibilities last night, I first ran across a program called Kids in the Kitchen, which is run through the Capital Area Food Bank. These programs are 7-8 week sessions where kids learn how to cook simple healthy recipes, and I liked the sounds of that, so I thought that would be my donation. But I often read about other things and dig around a little more, and that’s when I ran across a soup kitchen/food pantry called Caritas. Since I’m one of 4 generations with Caritas for a middle name, I KNEW I had to make a donation to them! And that’s where I went first. Traffic was very heavy and slow because of the music festival, but I finally found the location, and went inside and met Ally. Caritas Community Kitchen provides free lunches with no questions asked to about 350 people every Monday through Friday. And they also provide groceries for people to take home. They anticipate providing enough food this year to make 43,000 meals. Ally seemed to enjoy the story of my journey – especially the fact that my middle name was Caritas, and she offered to put half of my donation toward the soup kitchen, and the other half toward the food pantry.

From there I went on to the Capital Area Food Bank and met Angela, who runs the Kids in the Kitchen program. This is a mobile program, to be able to reach the kids in need, and Angela and her co-workers pack up everything necessary to head out to teach the kids not only how to cook, but a bit about nutrition as well. They cover a different area of nutrition each week – there are 3-4 nutritionists on the staff. The kids learn simple recipes for snacks and meals, like tostadas and whole wheat pancakes; and they learn to cook not only for themselves but for their family too. And it sounds like they enjoy their classes!

Then it was time to do some walking! It was another really hot and humid day, and since town seemed crowded with the first day of this music festival, I decided to do some walking by Lady Bird Lake – a huge lake right in Austin named after Lady Bird Johnson. There were trails around lots of it, and Tula and I set off on a 2+ mile walk, and then she had enough in the heat. I walked the other direction for another mile and a half or so, and then I drove over to the north side of the lake where Tula was game for another couple of miles, and then I continued on for another 2 1/2 miles after she was ready for another break.

It was turning into evening by this time, and becoming a bit more comfortable out, and even though I had pretty much finished my 8 miles of walking for the day, I thought this might be a good time to drive over to the Capitol building since the Friday afternoon crowds would be gone. I liked the state capitol – it’s big and solid and majestic – very fitting for the biggest state in the “lower 48!” The grounds were pretty with lots of trees and there were several buildings to walk around. The lights came on as it got darker, and it was a pretty place to walk another mile and a half in the falling darkness with rain clouds moving in.

By then I had walked almost 10 miles for the day, and was more than ready to get a little Chinese take-out and head back to the motel – feeling happy I was able to enjoy a free room during such a busy weekend in Austin!

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One Comment
  1. My daughter is Ally from Caritas. She did love your story! After you left, I got an email from her and the subject line said “This is why I love my job!” She told me about your blog and I have started reading about yours and Tula’s travels. You are doing such a wonderful thing! Best of luck on your journey.

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