Columbia County Recovery Kitchen hosted an old-fashioned backyard barbecue on Saturday, August 14, to thank its more than 90 dedicated volunteers who work to help vulnerable neighbors with food insecurity. Recovery Kitchen volunteers are drivers, schedulers, distribution staff, cooks, kitchen staff, and advisors working in the areas of fundraising, communication, grant writing and data collection. The event was held at the home of Carole Clark, Recovery Kitchen founder and long-time Hudson restaurateur.
“After 17 months of phone calls, text messages and Zoom meetings, our Recovery Kitchen organizers and volunteers finally were able to meet in person,” said Ms. Clark, continuing, “We had to delay this long-awaited, in-person gathering due to COVID restrictions.”
Recovery Kitchen’s large number of volunteers have diverse backgrounds. Many have moved to the Hudson Valley from either coast, with careers spanning a wide range of industries including fashion, finance, food and cookbook writing, law, publishing, newspaper reporting and nonprofit management. The artworld is represented among the volunteers too, from art dealers and artists to those from the music and entertainment industry.
The celebratory barbeque menu included grilled vegetables, burgers and hot dogs, potato salad, panzanella salad, watermelon feta salad and grilled peaches, all prepared by Recovery Kitchen Chef Jamie Parry. David Drake, a Recovery Kitchen volunteer, created festive beverages. Musical entertainment was provided by Rachel Weisman on vocals, accompanied by Jody Rael on guitar.
Recovery Kitchen, a local 501c3 public charity, opened its doors in April 2020. With the help of a fiscal sponsor and a church kitchen, two creative restaurant chefs, Jamie Parry (SWOON Kitchenbar) and John Carr (Le Perche) and their colleagues, they created 200 meals each week. By late summer, they were cooking and delivering 900 meals each week throughout the county. County social services and schools helped to identify people in need. Recovery Kitchen thrives due to the generosity and spirit of the community, including local farmers who donate freshly harvested vegetables and fruit, meat and cheese.
In thanking the volunteers, Ms. Clark recounted the organization’s origin story. “Initially planning the mechanics of Recovery Kitchen, I thought that finding people to cook and deliver the meals would be the biggest challenge. To our surprised delight, the response was overwhelming,” she said. “We are a truly dedicated and caring community, eager to work together to provide nutritious and delicious meals to Columbia County residents struggling with food insecurity. Since April 2020, we have delivered more than 50,000 meals. Recovery Kitchen is only possible because of all of you.”
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer for Recovery Kitchen can sign up here.