Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 Scholarship Winner, Renee Morgan Using Talents in a New Way

A lot of folks have been asking what I’m up to since graduation. Well, I have an exciting new project to tell you all about. I’m thrilled to introduce Chefalicious Hospitality, Inc., a 503(c) non-profit foundation. You see, as a mother, grandmother and culinarian, I feel very strongly about children’s nutrition and it’s effect on their health and development. In Williamson county, Texas, over 60,000 people are food insecure at any one time. Of those, over 32,000 are children under the age of 18. (These statistics are according to the U.S Federal Census Bureau and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.) As a long time resident of Williamson county, I know that much of the county is rural, which means many times it is exceptionally difficult for these people to obtain assistance. Even if a family receives assistance in the form of SNAP (food stamps), a family of four generally receives around $150 or less per month. If the children of such a family receives free or reduced breakfast and lunch at school, they many times still go hungry nights, weekends, summers. That’s where Chefalicious Hospitality comes in.

Our mission is to use our culinary talents and resources to provide for the nutritional welfare of the economically disadvantaged children of Williamson County, Texas, the surrounding area and the world. We aim to do this through providing nutritious food, education, partnerships with area schools and daycare, cooking lessons, installation of home gardens and scholarships for the study of culinary arts to deserving students.

What does that mean exactly? Well, here’s the way it works. Chefalicious Hospitality offers catering, personal and private chef services, meal delivery for those know don’t have the time or inclination to cook, cooking lessons and classes and summer cooking camps for kids. Let’s say you need one of these services. If you chose to hire Chefalcious Hospitality (CH) as you would any other caterer or private chef, you also get the added benefit and peace of mind in knowing that your money is helping to feed hungry kids. You see, all of our proceeds are used to provide nutritional services to food insecure children in Williamson county.

We seek to assist children and their families in several ways:
-  CH will partner with No Kid Hungry™ to provide grocery store tours to economically disadvantaged parents to teach them how to read nutritional labels, menu plan, avoid unhealthy foods, and shop on a limited budget.
-  CH will provide a hot and healthy meal to any child under the age of 18 in need. We seek to partner with the USDA to provide lunch for children in the summer and this grow this service to include all other meals.
-  CH will provide cooking lessons to parents and children in food insecure families. Our intent is to teach children to prepare simple healthy snacks and give parents the tools they need to prepare delicious, quick and healthy meals for their families.
-  CH will gift a home garden to food insecure families, teach them how to grow and maintain their garden, and how to preserve their harvest for long term consumption.
-  CH hopes to offer training and culinary scholarships to promising high school students who demonstrate talent and financial need.   
Why now? I suppose my own story impacted my decision to start this foundation. Prior to attending culinary school, I had been a successful realtor and business owner. My husband owned a prosperous delivery company. We enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. When the recession hit our country in 2009, we found ourselves to be casualties. Along with so many others in this country, we lost everything. After trying to find work for over a year, I decided it was time to reinvent myself by going to culinary school. It was very difficult but it was something I had always wanted to do. Sometimes we didn’t have enough food, heat or even utilities. But I had a goal and nothing was going to stop me. I am grateful and blessed to say that I was able to finish culinary school with no debt because of winning the Stephan Pyles Cook-Off Scholarship, along with several others. I am forever indebted to the The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and Chef Stephan Pyles.

This experience forever changed me and highlighted the plight of so many in my community.  While I was in Boston completing my culinary internship with America’s Test Kitchen, I saw a billboard that advertised a place where any child under 18 could get a meal in the summer. It was sponsored by the USDA. I started thinking about how I could start something like that at home. Once back home in Texas, I started talking to people about my idea. Pretty soon, I had a professional kitchen, a dining room and office space with utilities donated by a local church in Leander. Next a farmer began donating organic vegetables. Then a certified master gardener offered to help with the gardens. A retired grant writer offered to help raise funds. We were on our way!

Currently, we are working on putting together our board of directors and infrastructure of the foundation and expect to be fully operational early in 2012. We hope to have a grand opening and a gala fundraiser in upcoming days. I would love to invite all of you to consider being a part of this important work, either by volunteering time, donating, or hiring CH for your events and culinary needs. We look forward to serving you and the children of Williamson county.

Please contact me regarding opportunities or to contract CH for events and services at renee.morgan1@gmail.com, 512-300-6128 or PO Box 1058, Liberty Hill, TX 78642.

1 comment:

  1. Hello friends,

    Scholarship Winner is currently studying for a bachelor of commerce and bachelor of laws conjoint. These awards provided during annual scholarship competition as well as current and past winners. Thanks a lot...