Home Cook Heroes Program
The Home Cook Heroes program at Gift of Life Howie’s House is an essential means of healthy support for our guests, providing them with a home-cooked meal every evening, along with brunch on the weekends.
The program also allows for community volunteer opportunities – engaging groups and organizations to donate food and time to prepare a nutritious and comforting meal. These meals afford our tired guests with the opportunity to decompress, share their experiences and find solace in a communal setting. Volunteers also see the impact of their efforts and also learn the importance of supporting organ donation in their own lives.
Meet Home Cook Heroes team, New Verizon Pioneers
From brunch to dinner, the New Verizon Pioneers have tackled it all. Ever since seeing a billboard for the Howie’s House and reaching out in November of 2014, the group has been coming in to cook and care for the families nearly every month.
“We really feel appreciated at the Howie’s House from the second we walk through the doors thanks to the staff and guest. Everyone is willing to help us and always greet us with a smile. Everything is clean and in working order. We love getting the thank you card after our visits.”
Formally known as Verizon Pioneers, the group is made up of employees, retirees and friends/family from Verizon Communications and their affiliates in the local community. Quite the amateur-chefs, the group enjoys making comfort foods and crowd-pleasers for our guests. They try and simulate family-dinner style meals, creating a cozy and welcoming environment for all the individuals here at the Howie’s House.
One of their favorite parts about volunteering at the Howie’s House is getting to know the guests, other volunteers and staff. “Our interactions with the guests are extremely touching and uplifting. Your staff helps keep the food warm and then puts away the leftovers for us. That is a huge help and we LOVE that! Everything we do is super appreciated.”
The New Verizon Pioneers have managed to grow close to many families staying at the Howie’s House and have made some great memories including outdoor barbecues and making s’mores with the guests.
The group encourages others to get involved with Home Cook Hero as well. It is as easy as “try[ing] out a new recipe from Pinterest each time you cook at the house.”
Many volunteers come for different reasons, whether it be their appreciation for connections formed over a home-cooked meal, a desire to give back or in memory of a loved one. As the New Verizon Pioneers say, “We all have been the patient and/or caregiver at one time or another. We totally understand how wonderful it is to have a meal cooked with love. We understand that mealtime is a good time to sit and talk with others going through the same experience. Our team gets more out of it because it allows us to work together with our friends and share our love of cooking with others who may not have time to prepare a meal.”
Want to try your hand in our kitchen? The New Verizon Pioneers say: “You don’t have to be a gourmet chef. Just find a few recipes you and your family like and make just make a bigger version of it.”
The Home Cook Heroes program offers a fun and creative way to volunteer in your community while engaging collaboratively and cooperatively with your family, friends, coworkers or classmates. Groups of up to 10 people can prepare meals (on or off-site) and serve them to our guests. All you need to bring is your group and the food, and we will provide everything else in our modern, fully-equipped kitchen. For more information about the Home Cook Heroes program or to sign up, please click here.