Since the reopening of the Springfield Township Arts Center last July, kids and adults are enjoying all sorts of new classes. Classes such as pottery, woodshop, blacksmithing, sewing, stained glass and painting are selling out with each session. "The renovations opened the door for a wider range of classes we were not able to offer before," shared Thom Schneider, ArtsConnect Board Chair. "Cooking classes were high on our list of 'wants' in the center, but space, nor funding allowed for it," shares ArtsConnect Executive Director, Kim Flamm. Cooking was something the ArtsConnect board discussed in length. "Culinary arts in particular, was a real passion of our late board member, Debbie Vargo" said Flamm.
Debbie's love for cooking grew with every class she attended and she wanted to share this love with anyone she could. She was known for making homemade cookies for the seniors on her Meals on Wheels route and even offered up her kitchen and her culinary skills as an auction item for an ArtsConnect fundraiser. She had planned to teach cooking to teen girls participating in the Springfield Township Enriching Youth (S.T.E.Y.) program, run by the township police department this summer. Sadly, Debbie passed away this January from a short and aggressive battle with cancer. Her relentless energy and caring spirit is greatly missed.
"I and the ArtsConnect board wanted to do something meaningful to create a lasting legacy in Debbie's name" said Flamm. After researching many options, it was decided that bringing Debbie's vision of cooking classes to the community would be a perfect way to celebrate her life.
ArtsConnect is asking for your help in a fundraiser to bring a portable kitchen in Debbie's name to the Arts Center. The fundraising goal of $14,000 will cover the cost of the cart, cooking utensils for 10 participants and a scholarship, which will support cooking classes for the S.T.E.Y. program. "We intend to make the scholarship program ongoing, so cooking continues to be a supported activity through her legacy," said Flamm.
The cooking cart will have a induction burner stovetop, small oven and working sink. It has the capability to fit through regular doors and meets the criterias of the health department for cooking, even outdoors. ArtsConnect would use the cart to expand its offerings as the Mobile Kitchen Academy for all types of cooking classes for children and adults. Lesson plans will soon be created for classes like Kids in the Kitchen, Cooking Basics and Date Night Dinners. (Many more to come!)
To make a donation, visit https://www.theartsconnect.us/349/Cooking-Cart-and-Scholarship-Fundraiser or call (513)522-2108. No donation is too small and brings ArtsConnect closer to its goals.
*S.T.E.Y is a program founded and run by the Springfield Township Police Department in cooperation with Finneytown and Mt. Healthy High Schools. The program was formed with the goal to empower, educate and motivate youth while bridging the gap between young community members and our police department. The program teaches teen girls that they are strong, capable women. S.T.E.Y mentors girls and teaches basic life skills; cooking, cleaning, car repair, home repairs, financial responsibilities, personal hygiene, internet safety and how to be a productive member of society.