Food for thought… URI students shop, cook, & eat with homeless

Food for thought…
URI students shop, cook, & eat with homeless

KINGSTON, R.I. — November 16, 2001 — University of Rhode Island freshman Alithea Bee of Pawtucket didn’t want to go. She had better things to do. After all, it was late Friday afternoon and she could be with her friends. Instead, Bee and her five classmates were asked to shop, cook, and share a meal with the homeless who are residents of Welcome House, a homeless emergency residential shelter in Peace Dale.

The exercise was part of Bee’s URI-101: Transitions and Transformations class taught by Mike Kittredge, a graduate student in the college student personnel program. (Dr. Lynn McKinney, associate dean of the College of Human Science and Services runs the same exercise for his 101 class.) The 101 class is designed to help new students get to know each other and the resources of the University. All URI-101 classes have a community service component supported by the Feinstein Enriching America Program.

With the $80 they had raised in hand, the group descended on Stop & Shop in Narragansett with a planned menu for 25, tossing chicken, potatoes and more into a shopping cart. Arriving at McKinney’s Wakefield home with the groceries, the group quickly went to work cooking and mashing potatoes, cutting up broccoli, creating lemon pepper chicken, a salad, and apple pie.

The students then drove to the Welcome House and, sitting down with its residents, ate the meal they had prepared.

“We talked with them and they told us of the mistakes they had made in their lives,” says Bee. When asked if she would do it again, Bee says she would. “You get a sense of helping when you do something like this.”

“Hunger and poverty are important issues,” says Kittredge. “We designed this outreach activity so that the students had actual hands-on experience dealing with budgeting, menu-planning, and food preparation. I think meeting people who are homeless face-to-face gave the students a broader perspective of what it is like to be hungry. It puts a human face on it.”

For Information: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116