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Cooking at the High School for the Homeless [Video]

Students at Algonquin High School spent Valentine's Day preparing a meal for families in transition living in Northborough.

Valentine's Day, because you've been programmed to think this way, has long been about showing your love with flowers, candy and a card. That's all well and good.

But this Valentine's Day, through a collaboration between Harvard Pilgrim, the Northborough Food Pantry and Algonquin Regional High School — and a little help from Northborough Patch — the day was about showing some love to the community.

On Tuesday, Susan Halpin's class whipped up a more involved recipe, and for a larger number of people, than usual, and spiced it up in style. Halpin, who also sits on the advisory board for the Food Pantry, was impressed by the students' ability to follow through with the recipe, and coordinate the shipments.

In the room next door, Candice Loughlin's students had prepared chocolate dipped strawberries and packaged them eloquently in boxes.

In two culinary arts classes at ARHS, students prepped and cooked for two days, preparing meals for 18 families presently in transition and staying at the EconoLodge in Northborough.

"The kids are thrilled with this," said Halpin.

"I like cooking anyway," said senior CJ Tierney, who said if he weren't going to be a cop, he'd probably be a chef. "I've been cooking my whole life."

Harvard Pilgrim made the activity possible through providing a $500 Spirit Mini-Grant (which commemorates those Harvard Pilgrim members who lost their lives on 9/11), and Northborough Food Pantry used the money to buy the ingredients, cook and deliver heart-healthy meals to these clients of the Department of Transitional Assistance.

Each Wegmans bag included a container of homemade white bean chicken chili, homemade tortilla chips, chocolate covered strawberries, the recipes for the dishes and Valentine's made by the high school students. 

I think this collaboration between the Northborough Food Pantry and the high school benefits both," said Sarah Rothery, director of the Food Pantry. "We get homemade meals to deliver to our clients and the students practice cooking heart healthy meals for a population that can't cook for themselves."

The ingredients and the recipe were also provided to the pantry's clients, who wanted to try it for themselves. 

Beth Finch Mccarthy February 17, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Later that day, I saw all the packed Wegman's bags lined up and ready to go. You could have actually felt the love in the Northborough Food Pantry from all the people who helped to put warmth in our transitional families' Valentine's Day. Thank you all.

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