Proper nutrition amongst young students is a challenge found in most schools. Some youth in Archbishop Romero High School, George Harvey Collegiate Institute and Nelson Boylen Collegiate Institute were no different and after a joint collaboration with Toronto Police, Public Health and Toronto  Schools Boards, on how to deal with the matter, the Stone Soup Cooking Club (SSCC)  was created.

The SSCC ran three times a week, afterschool, at each of the three high schools. With an officer leading the sessions, the 60 youth involved learned basic nutrition and cooking skills. Professional guest chefs were invited to teach youth how to make reasonably priced, delicious and nutritious meals. Down time during the sessions allowed for meaningful discussion between youth and officers. These discussions helped officers guide youth to better social relationships, more positive attitudes and improved mental health.

At the end of the program, the three clubs attended a cook off at the Humber College School of Hospitality where they rallied together to show off their fine culinary skills. Not only did they enjoy competing, the youth were ecstatic to be able to cook in a professional industrial kitchen.

While dealing with poverty, hunger, poor nutrition and gang related issues, it can be a challenge for some of these youth to gain a proper education and have a stable social and economic future. The program’s exposure to the culinary arts addressed many of these issues and encouraged several of the participants to develop an interest in the hospitality industry as a potential career path.

Thank you to the Maple Leaf Gardens Loblaws for donating $3000 to help buy groceries for this program!

Youth Leader