April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and we are so grateful for each and every one of the individuals and groups who make our community stronger.
This week, we’re thrilled to highlight one of the many dedicated cooking clubs that donate their time and culinary skills to the Center. We stopped by one of their evening cooking clubs to chat!
The USC Helenes, a women’s service organization made up of students from the University of Southern California, are a longtime volunteer group that cooks for our participants two times a month or more, if possible.
“I think we all love cooking for the Downtown Women’s Center because it’s a way we know we can serve the women here,” says Cadence. The rest of the Helenes nod in agreement. Tonight, they are cooking a soy ginger chicken with rice and a fresh salad.
For some of these students, it’s their first time at the Center. Others have been volunteering as members of the USC Helenes for years now.
"We all love cooking for the Downtown Women’s Center because it’s a way we know we can serve the women here."
Although the Helenes partner with many organizations around Los Angeles to participate in service work, they have named the Downtown Women’s Center as their "official philanthropy" on their website.
The Helenes became involved with us several years ago and have consistently volunteered ever since. Their former Director of Community Engagement for the Helenes, Kealia, says that the women fundraise for the meal supplies or the money comes from the dues they pay each semester.
“Last semester we had a quesadilla fundraiser which would typically cover the cost of one of these meals,” Kealia explains while chopping cabbage for the salad. Using their own money to cover the cost of a meal they prepare for others is just one way that these amazing students go above and beyond to serve our community.
Thank you, USC Helenes, for cooking delicious and healthy meals for our participants! You are appreciated!
Above: The USC Helenes prepare lunch for the Day Center.
If you and a group of friends, co-workers or loved ones would like to get involved with the Downtown Women’s Center, check out our volunteer opportunities here!