For eight months, 44 members of the GW Super Slow Cookers, a non-profit group based on the campus of George Washington University, have been preparing hot soup for hundreds of volunteers each month. The cooks say it’s an ideal springtime activity for contributing financially, with a minimum wage job difficult to find. And as they slow their soups through steaming machines at the university’s Hospitality Kitchen, they hope volunteers bring them back a gift of time.
“All the employees at the cafeterias pay to have someone available to help with their lunch, so I’m hoping that they’ll pass it along to employees of the restaurants,” says Jon Cavendish, 29, a company director who has worked for staff cafeterias since graduating college in 2006.
To protect the volunteers themselves from minor injuries, the Slow Cookers ensure they are wearing body armor, raincoats, and gloves. They also must complete an initial course provided by the University before entering the kitchen.
“You’re pushing and lifting an army-grade scale in your pants,” says Pat Krzywiewicz, 35, the registered dietitian with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who has overseen the slow-cooking program since 2006.
But the benefit isn’t just altruistic. Teaching at the Hospitality Kitchen, Cavendish says, has made his eating habits better:
“The success story is that we are delivering a free meal for people who need it. We also get to learn how to manage food, and it makes you eat better. And we feed the world in the process.”
*The GW Super Slow Cookers are due back at the Hospitality Kitchen Wednesday.