Rachel Stein, Adele Holock and Deirdre Holmes are excited to be launching the Kids Cook VT summer camp next month. Two one-week camps will run from July 30 to August 3 and then from August 6 to 10. Their hope is to engage about 10 to 12 children each week. 

The Kids Cook campers will be growing food at Charlotte Central School and at the Charlotte Congregational Church. They will harvest the food they grow and then use it for cooking meals and snacks that will go to the Charlotte Food Shelf and other organizations addressing food insecurity. During the first half of each day the kids will cook, and during the other half there will be activities like crafts and hiking.

Rachel Stein explained that the idea for the camp grew from the kids cooking program at the Charlotte Congregational Church, in which kids baked goods and provided food to the food shelf. Stein and Adele Holoch took over that program, and now they run it out of the church kitchen once a month and serve the food at the Salvation Army. The women felt that they wanted to take the idea to another level and thus was born the Kids Cook Vermont summer camp.

Stein hopes that the camp will make the kids feel empowered and show them that anyone can do good work. “It shows them that it’s easy to help their neighbors,” she said. “And too, if children can learn what to do with food at a young age, they can feed themselves for a lifetime.”

According to the Vermont Food Bank, one in four people in Vermont struggles with hunger issues. “The kids will be using their skills to connect to a larger social justice message,” Stein said. To that end, the group has partnered with the Salvation Army, COTS, Champlain Housing Trust, Hunger Free Vermont and Gardener’s Supply “Garden to Give” campaign. Stein, Holoch and Holmes believe the camp will strengthen community connections between the school, with its garden project, the church, the food shelf and the Recreation Department. It’s a win, all the way around.