Teens CHIP In! for Essex Eats Out
Last Thursday, October 16th, despite the rain (and the rare opportunity to sleep until noon), 7 local teens opted to spend a day of their long weekend “chipping in” for their community. The students got involved through Fall CHIP In, Essex CHIPS’ community service program.
After a few get-to-know-you games, the Chip In crew was ready to head to the St. James Episcopal Church in Essex Junction to embark on a day of baking for Essex Eats Out. Essex Eats Out is an organization based in the Essex community that organizes free meals in Essex and Essex Junction each Friday night. Rev. Kenneth Hitch, of the St. James Church and coordinator for Essex Eats Out, generously allowed us to use the church kitchen, and supplied the ingredients for our day of baking.
We got right to work upon arriving, as the crew threw on aprons and separated into three teams to begin measuring, mixing, melting and pouring to make some sweet treats for the dinner taking place at St. James the following evening.
The teens exercised their problem solving skills as they encountered some dessert dilemmas along the way: cookies not firming up? Try making them smaller and giving them more room to expand. Can’t find the right sizepan? Combine two batches! It was great to see the teens working together, navigating through their trial and error, all while developing some baking skills along the way.
During our lunch break Ken gave us the inside scoop on Essex Eats Out. Essex Eats Out was developed in response to an identified need for food and community connection within Essex. Every Friday, the team at Essex Eats Out organizes a meal that is free and open to anyone who wants or needs to attend.
The organization also provides regular volunteer opportunities for community members. Learning more about the mission and work of Essex Eats Out provided some meaningful context for our day of volunteering.
After baking another batch of cookies and cleaning up the church kitchen, our crew hung up our aprons and headed back over to CHIPS. Everyone had a great time, and felt as though their efforts would be appreciated by attendees of the dinners. One of our volunteers even said that she “felt like Martha Stewart.” A day off from school well spent.
Special thanks to Ken Hitch for providing the space, ingredients, and opportunity for our teens to make an impact in their community. And, last but not least, a big “thank you!” to our hardworking and dedicated volunteers for making Fall CHIP In a fun and successful day!
Until next time, thanks for CHIP-ping in!
AmeriCorps*State Youth Outreach Coordinator