Growing up as youth in Philadelphia I did not have the most nutritional foods around me. I remember nights in front of the television with my favorites, Grilled Cheese,Top Ramen, TV dinners, boxes of cereal, frozen minute cheesesteaks, and fast food. When I went to school it was no different. I remember stopping in to the local corner stores to fill up on cakes, chips, and sodas. Fruits and Vegetables were not a part of my life. Fast forward twenty years and I am now watching the next generation of Philadelphian's do the same thing. At the time I didn't realize it was because we could only afford cheap, quick, and easy to make foods. I don't believe the current generation realizes that either. It wasn't until after college that I began to take my health seriously because of various mentors in my life. Those mentors, inspired me to mentor my current students on health and I knew I had to create opportunities for them to experience foods that they never encountered. I didn't want them to make the same mistake as me, which could end up costing years on one's life and thousands of dollars in medical bills. While searching for these opportunities in Philly I came across Vetri Community Partnership (VCP)
You may have heard of Vetri through their successful restaurants throughout the city. Pizzeria Vetri and Vetri Cucina are hometown favorites when people are looking for delicious Italian cuisine. What most people do not know is their founder, Mark Vetri, started a non profit organization to "to help people experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living" They do this through a number of programs that pair educators and volunteers with participating schools to create an experience that lets children cook their own nutritious meals. They also provide family friendly recipes and have teamed up with other organizations throughout the city to make nutritious food affordable for parents. Their philanthropy doesn't stop there, this fall they are teaming up with hospitals and colleges throughout Philadelphia to launch a new program called Culinary Medicine
We Love Philly recently volunteered at Vetri Community Partnership's Mobile Teaching Kitchen Program. For this program VCP drives a food truck to different locations throughout the city to make an easy to do recipe for citizens that are passing by. The students at We Love Philly had the opportunity to learn about, prepare, and serve a nutritious dish that many people had the pleasure to enjoy. If you're interested in volunteering with VCP be sure to email their Community Engagement Coordinator Ridhdhi Parmar at ridhdhi@vetricommunity,org. If you would like to learn more about their organization check out our podcast interview with Ridhdhi at the top of this page and watch the volunteer video we made for their organization below.