KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chef Shanita McAfee-Bryant is known for her healthy and hearty meals.
“Today we’re making enchiladas in the tomatillo sauce, with spinach, roasted zucchini, red pepper and red rice that’s going with that,” she said.
It’s this type of meal Chef Shanita says anyone should have access to.
“Access to good quality food is not a luxury item,” McAfee-Bryant said. “It is a basic necessity.”
It’s the reason why she’s partnering up with Nourish KC, who’s seen firsthand how many people lack that access.
“In 2019, we were feeding about 500 families a day, 2,500 a week,” Nourish KC Executive Director, Sue Fenske said. “Those numbers are above 3,000 a week now, inching up towards 3,500.”
Fenske said the number of children who are coming to get a meal has increased by 30 percent since January.
The hands that prepare the food are children themselves, teenagers in the Kansas City area, who are a part of a Culinary internship, a part of an initiative at Nourish KC, working with Chef Shanita. It’s also a part of the #FeedKCForward initiative.
“The program has given us an opportunity to do good and do good,” Chef Shanita said. “We’re doing good by teaching students skills that’ll be helpful for them for work preparedness.”
She said students are a part of Build Trybe, a program working with foster care youth and teaching them life and vocational skills.
“And who doesn’t benefit from learning how to cook,” Chef Shanita said. “And then we’re allowing them to serve other families.”
And it’s those “doing good” life lessons Chef Shanita is instilling in her 7-year-old daughter, Monty.
“I want to help the people who don’t have food,” Monty said.
For Monty, her goal is simple.
“I want to help people. I want to make sure they have good environments,” Monty said. “I’m very excited and happy they get this delicious food.”
The internship is a six-week program. Students will make a total of 2,400 meals for Crosslines Community Outreach, benefiting families in need.
Chef Shanita is also the founder of The Prospect, a new organization dedicated to a number of different initiatives, including culinary training, access to quality food and bringing awareness to food insecurity.
She said collaborations and partnerships with other organizations are crucial in making sure our community gets what is needed in order to succeed and live a healthy life.
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