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Cooking Up Community in Canada’s Maritimes

It’s a day full of chopping and stirring but also full of fun. At the monthly community kitchen held at All Nations Christian Reformed Church in Halifax, N.S., church members work to help their community and build relationships with those who come to cook. 

Three years ago, All Nations member Jennifer Young facilitated this community kitchen as part of expanded outreach for their women’s Coffee Break ministry. They met to share skills, socialize, and work together to provide multiple take-home meals for all involved.

But what makes this group really sizzle is cooking for others. “We are still figuring it all out, looking to different groups or charities that might need our support with food,” said this year’s organizer Carrie Vroege.

Throughout the year, they stock the Deacon’s freezer so their deacons can hand out meals to the people in need. “The Deacon’s freezer has become a very valuable part of our community kitchen. The people they serve have really come to appreciate the meals,” Vroege said.

Community kitchen participants baked 4,500 cookies for a fundraising walk for a local homeless shelter. They baked for their students’ group and for the church’s spring plant/bake sale fundraiser.

Men and children come to help cook or bake each month. People from the congregation donate ingredients based on a list sent out from the cooks. It’s a multigenerational effort with youth helping out with childcare while parents work in the kitchen.

“The purpose of the kitchen is to show God’s love through food and community,” explained Young. “The community kitchen is a place where you contribute what you can: time and energy cooking, a financial contribution, or both. We are prayerful that God will bless our efforts to build community.”

Lydia Mans at All Nations CRC's Community Kitchen. (L-r): Margaret Nussbaumer, Carrie Vroege, and Lydia Mans preparing a meal for the community kitchen with Emily Geertsema and Patricia Van Donkelaar in the background.

About the Author

Krista Dam-Vandekuyt is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Jerseyville, Ontario.

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