Lisa Napoli first started volunteering with DWC a few years ago when she was looking for an opportunity near her home in downtown Los Angeles.
“I went to [volunteer] training and loved the idea of gathering people to cook communally, since I love to make and share food.”
Lisa leads a monthly Cooking Club, which is a group of friends, family or colleagues who come together and prepare a homemade meal for the women of DWC. The Cooking Clubs pay for the cost of food or go shopping for the ingredients to prepare a meal for 150 women.
“It’s so much fun, and we have a clear-cut sense that we are helping people. Also, it’s exponential: It’s not about my own personal volunteer experience, but about our group and the group of women being served."
I also love welcoming in new members who find the joy in learning about DWC. It’s important for people who have a lot to see up close and personal that their world isn’t representative of the larger world around them—and that there is something they can do instead of despair or complain or ignore it.”
Lisa loves connecting with friends and making new friends through chopping, dicing, and preparing salads, side dishes and main courses that will feed women the next day.
“For years I hosted a party every Friday night in my apartment downtown. I don’t do that anymore. I prefer to gather people and invite new people I meet to cook with us. Even if they never come back, it’s good for people to see that they can give, even in what seems like a very modest way.”
Lisa has a message to people interested in volunteering, “Giving things away – money, time, love, plants – it’s the best feeling in the world.”
“At DWC, there’s a sense of selfless giving— knowing that a lot of women are benefiting in the most essential way—from delicious, healthy, lovingly prepared foods—it doesn't get much better than that. It gives all of us a sense of community and meaning.”
Lisa's volunteering has had a ripple effect, or as she calls it, a multiplier effect. "One member, Stacie, now teaches yoga at the DWC. Another, Franna, donated a can opener. Scott was working with a lady on her writing. Lisa B. did breakfast preparation. Others donate things all the time. It's not just one person but many who become involved, in myriad ways. I love that!"
The impact of one volunteer like Lisa is felt and appreciated. In 2013, DWC was awarded the Deutsch Foundation's HALO Award in recognition of Lisa's volunteer leadership and of our volunteer program.
Lisa designated her HALO Award to establish a Case Management Urgent Need Fund to support DWC's case management team as they work with women to address critical needs.
Thank you Lisa!
WATCH: Find out what it's like to volunteer in the kitchen at DWC and join a cooking club today!
Interested in volunteering at DWC? Check out our volunteer opportunities.