Cooking 4 a cause takes a bite out of hunger

%28From+left%29+Melilah+Sanchez%2C+Micah+Kamenetskiy%2C+Daniella+Pastena%2C+Kelly+Cammarata%2C+and+Olivia+DAchille%2C+members+of+the+Cooking+4+A+Cause+Club%2C+pose+with+their+food+donations+to+Tonis+Kitchen.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Boymann

(From left) Melilah Sanchez, Micah Kamenetskiy, Daniella Pastena, Kelly Cammarata, and Olivia D’Achille, members of the Cooking 4 A Cause Club, pose with their food donations to Toni’s Kitchen.

Members of the Cooking 4 a Cause Club kept the spirit of giving back for the holidays close to their hearts on Nov. 21 as they held their sixth annual Turkey Drive at West Essex to provide Thanksgiving meals for less fortunate families. The group collected hundreds of boxed and canned foods and over a dozen turkeys for Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair. 

“During the holiday season, it is such a great time to give back to the community and spend time with friends and family through food,” club adviser Lisa Boymann said. “It is also very enjoyable to spend a sunny November morning with such great people.”

But, the Turkey Drive wasn’t the first time Cooking 4 a Cause focused on giving back to the community and helping those in need; this year, club members created over 50 candy-filled goodie bags for the Ronald McDonald Foundation during Halloween, and also sponsored a team for the annual Volleyball Turkey Classic in November, which raised money for the Caldwell Food Pantry. 

“Cooking 4 A Cause is a unique club with a powerful goal to help those in need through cooking-related events,” club vice president Jenna Ebbinghousen said. “Unlike other clubs, we have the opportunity to directly interact with organizations in our community and see the impact we are making on others.”

Club officers said they look forward to the service opportunities that can come with being back to in-person schooling. The club is planning an event to raise money for Together We Rise, an organization supporting children in foster care. 

“With this year specifically, now that we are back in school and able to do more hands-on activities, we as a club would like to reach out to more local organizations who can allow our school to help those in need,” club president Charlotte Brunetti said. “We would like to invite more volunteers to generously offer their time, and to help us give back to many great causes.”