Win Win Win Win

Dinner at the Gillespie Center was special on September 9.  Students in Staples’ advanced culinary arts class, along with the Culinary Arts Club, prepared and served food for residents of the town homeless shelter.

They did it again October 14.  And they’ll continue throughout the school year, on the 2nd Friday of each month.

That’s good, and it makes a nice story.  But there’s much more.

The culinary students create menus featuring fresh local produce and meat.  Chef Cecily Gans purchases the items at the Westport Farmers’ Market, held every Thursday in the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Westport Sunrise Rotary provides funding for the food.  Club members also pick up and deliver the food to the Gillespie Center, and coordinate serving with the students.

And the Staples PTA donates funds for essential, um, staples like oil, vinegar and rice.

Talk about a win-win-win-win situation:

  • Students learn about community service, preparing meals with fresh ingredients, and supporting community agriculture programs.
  • The Farmers’ Market helps fill an important need.
  • Sunrise Rotary plays a key role, assisting students and the Gillespie Center.
  • And men and women facing hard times eat healthful, great-tasting meals.

Staples culinary students, with Chef Cecily Gans (3rd from left).

16 responses to “Win Win Win Win

  1. Westport has so much to be proud of, but more of us have to participate, especially in working as a community to support our Public Works. Police, Education, finance etc. It is our town and bringing our individual skills to support that which we are passionate about will give us even more to be proud of. Marty Bell

  2. PHENOMENAL community initiative…thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Ilene Mirkine

    Thank you, Chef Gans, for taking this wonderful idea and running with it along with all the other town partners. This is a great example of aligning resources for the betterment of all. And, I’m guessing that all the folks involved are just loving it. Bravo.
    Dan got it right again: win-win-win-win!

  4. Maggie Feczko

    This is a wonderful example of how Sunrise Rotary works with Staples to empower youth to get involved in socially innovative projects. Go culinary students, Chef Gans, Sunrise Rotary and Gillespie Center!

  5. Thank you Dan, for putting our program out there and continuing to support our efforts, as well as mapping our progression and growth for many years now. Much obliged!

  6. I wish there was a culinary club when I was there! Great job chef Gans- keep it goin!

  7. Wonderful initiative.

  8. Gerry Kuroghlian

    Chef Gans is one of the jewels in the Staples crown. Her students have proved themselves to be great citizens as well as talented cooks. Go Staples!

  9. Cheers for Stalples, Sunrise Rotary and all the others involved. Cheers also for the manh many unsung volunteers who have been cooking and feeding our less fortunate in the Gillespie Center for the past tweny years. Westport is renowned as having the best homeless center in Fairfield County, by its clients.

  10. Great article, however, Not to be a downer but think this kind of positive attention will bring in more homeless from nearby towns or states?

    • They need to be on the Internet, have a computer, or know about this website…. But what’s the difference giving a helping hand and a nutient rich meal to the less fortunate is always a good thing…

    • The Dude Abides

      My God, that is the most asinine comment and response I have ever seen on this blog. The Gillespie exists here because Westport has always opened up its arms to the disadvantaged. And you two are worried about word getting out and more might arrive to ruin your nirvana??? Some 18,000 are homeless in NYC every night and 215,000 Veterans nationwide. Why don’t you go volunteer to help some of them instead of believing that you are too entitled to ever share their plight??

      • Dude I was joking on the first part of the response since these people are disadvantaged I don’t think they are reading a blog….. the second part is totally real lets feed the world…..I think everyone should have a real good food meal….not some processed thing that is being passed off….. the GC and the Bridgeport mission are doing great things with the farmers market to feed the homeless….. I know that Chef Gans is trying to explore other options for feeding the Less Fortunate in other soup kitchens….but unfortunately its all about the “Benjamins”. I’m with you Dude not against.

        • The Dude Abides

          Didn’t find it particularly funny, obviously. And actually many of the homeless do have access to a computer via the public libraries. It is my belief that the shelters and soup kitchens in this area began in the ’80’s when Reagan turned his back on the homeless. Pastor Ted Hoskins of the Saugatuck Congregational Church did wonderful things starting many programs including feeding the disadvantaged on Thanksgiving/Christmas which still continues. Also, the Methodist Church, led by Don Roth, has a food bank in Norwalk that they open each week for 100’s of the hungry. Professor Woog’s article here and your points are also great examples of people helping people. That has been the compassionate Westport that I love. The Mac-Mansions and expensive cars come and go but the core of this wonderful town has and always will be an open door policy of people from every walk of life. That acceptability and concern is also what makes this town stand out among all others in this area.

          • I haven’t lived here as long as some, 33 years, and I respect your opinion borne of longevity, however when I reflect on the openness of Westport, I often think Mount Laurel. How about you? BTW Clinton ended welfare “as we knew it” and the number of poor people in America reached a record high in 2010.

  11. Congrats to all involved !!!