Cooking Ministry - Where can I do it???
So, I'm a Born Again Christian who has an insane passion (and dare I say, knack) for cooking. I lost my father to cancer when I was 10 years old, and ever since that time, I've always dreamed of doing something for children who have lost a parent/suffer from grief from any type of loss, really. I found my passion for cooking about 12 years ago, and it wasn't until recently that I got the idea to exploit my passion for cooking by using it to fulfill my dream of serving God and, more specifically, serving grieving children. Basically, I want to host cooking classes for these children to give them an outlet (say once a month) where they can put their grief aside or work out their grief through the therapy of cooking. Of course, The Gospel would be central to it all, but I'm getting off on a tangent ...
My problem is, I don't have any ideas on where to do this. My kitchen is too small, as is my church's kitchen. I would need to squat in a kitchen that can accomodate my need to cook with a group of people, and it needs to be free or REALLY cheap. This will be completely volunteer and non-profit on my part, as all funding will be out of my own pocket. I will do it once a month to start (unless it explodes and there's a need to do it more frequently). It will be a side endeavor, as I am full-time employed. (Hopefully someday, I can grow this to a point where I can do it full-time on a large scale for a lot of children on a weekly basis year-round. I would love any ideas on who I can pitch to use their kitchen, and how to make such a pitch. I love you all for even reading this post and taking even a minute to consider it. God Bless you.
It's a long shot, but check with a local hospice that has an in-patient unit (i.e., has a kitchen). They also provide bereavement services, so they'd have knowledge of children in their clientele who could use your services.
I see from your profile you are in PA. I would check the local soup kitchens, homeless shelters, volunteer center and United Way for legit leads on volunteer opportunity. Some senior centers also operate a commercial kitchen for in house and delivery meals on wheels. The United Way, Salvation Army and local YMCA should be able to direct your good deeds.
Another idea worth your time is to register as a volunteer through VolunteerMatch to offer your time and talents in your immediate area. VolunteerMatch literally matches individuals with non profit need via zip code registry and people looking for folks like you comb the database. As a volunteer you can register for free and write your resume and offer down and see what bites. The link I've provided above illustrates the types of opportunities non profits are posting but like I said, volunteers post as well.
Just remember that once you make a connection with a charity you will be required to go through a background check, finger printing and an interview/application process maybe even some in house training before an organization can offer you a legit volunteer opportunity. Many do so in order to insure you under their policy. But unless you set something up on your own and go through the proper channels to do so, you will be checked out.
I don't know where you live (how rural, etc.?)
#1 But if your church kitchen is too small, perhaps there are other churches in your denomination that might be amenable if you open it up to their membership.
#2 Volunteer Fire Departments usually have the type of kitchen you seek and are really giving people. Cover their expenses (Utilities $20-25) and you may be in luck.
#3 If you are in the USA,forget about public buildings, because you wish to preach a particular religion.
#4 seek out your friends who live in condos or similar communities that have clubhouses/community rooms with kitchens. The resident may be able to sponsor your event at a very nominal (or no) charge
#5 Contact local soup kitchens and offer to run this program on a day when they don't normally serve a meal. You and your kids provide the labor, they seek out the food. One Sunday a month I do this with some of my daughter's high school friends at a soup kitchen that is normally only open Monday-Friday night. We have a 1-3 cooking time and serve from 3-4:30. Another neighbor brings in his kids scout groups to decorate (Cubs and Brownies) and serve and entertain (Boy and Girl)