Making food for needy sharpens students’ skills

Jim Grant / Nevada Appeal

Jim Grant / Nevada Appeal

Bianca Miranda and Guadalupe Diaz, both 17, have aspirations of running their own restaurants one day. But they see the work they’re doing now as no less important.

“It makes you feel good,” Miranda said. “It’s not just for something random. It helps a lot.”

The two culinary arts students, who will be seniors next year at Carson High School, prepare meals each weekday to be served to children in need as part of the Food for Thought Summer Lunch program, which provides free lunches to children 2-18 in Park Terrace Park next to Empire Elementary School.

While the summer program is in its second year, this is the first year it has employed students to prepare the food. The two were recommended by Carson High School’s culinary arts teacher, Penny Reynolds.

“They do a great job,” said Stephanie Gardner, executive director of Food for Thought, which discreetly provides meals to children in need over the weekends during the school year. “Penny has so prepared them for the work environment. They’re responsible. They know what to do.”

Diaz and Miranda work from 7:30-11:30 a.m. in the kitchen of the Carson City Community Center, preparing meals for up to 115 people. It’s good training, they said, for their future careers.

“I think it helps with time management,” Miranda said. “You have to figure out what you need to do first, what’s most important.”

Local food aficionado Linda Marrone also helps coach the students and advises Gardner about where to get the best groceries at the best price, even creating the recipe for the universal favorite turkey and spinach wrap.

And serving tasty fare is important to the chefs, particularly because they have friends and family members who participate in the program.

“They usually tell us what they enjoyed about the meal,” Diaz said.

And he keeps that in mind as he works.

“It makes me work harder so the kids get better food,” he said. “The quality’s better.”


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