Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. A 13-year-old from Summerville, SC, John Michael used his award to give back to members of his community in homeless shelters. His project involved learning how to cook and teaching his peer volunteers how to cook and man the grill. John Michael prepared and distributed full meals for men in a homeless shelter which included a protein, a veggie, and a side dish.
- How many volunteers participated in your project? How many hours did it involve?
My project involved nine youth volunteers. I spent 112 hours of my time and other volunteers spent 57 hours for a total of 169 hours.
- What did you learn from this experience?
I learned that giving back can teach you valuable lessons. I learned how to cook, how to use the grill and taught my friends to cook, too. I learned that a good home cooked meal can bring great joy to people, and I learned how important it is to let someone know who is going through a challenging time that they are not alone.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future?
I will continue to cook and make regular meals. So many people learned what I was doing and have donated food to me.
- Overall, summarize how your project was completed and how you think it went.
My project went great! In total I served 1,017 meals to men at the Home of Hope. I learned so much and feel like my efforts made a huge impact on the lives of the men at the Home of Hope. One special memory was when I made steak for the guests of the shelter. It was an extra special treat, and I will never forget the looks on their faces. I love how my friends helped me, and my mom was amazing. I couldn’t have done it without her.
After I made meals for over a year the shelter reached out and asked if I would use my culinary skills to help them raise money for the shelter. I hosted Hopes Table in November. My friends helped me prepare a huge meal and we hosted a raffle. I raised $2,700 for the shelter. None of that would have happened had I not started making meals for the men at the shelter.
- How was the Karma for Cara microgrant helpful in the completion of your project?
The microgrant made this possible! I used the funds to purchase the food to serve over 1,000 meals. And guess what? I still have money left over to make more meals. I have enough funds to prepare meals for 2018, too!