We created the Englewood Community Kitchens (ECK) to create positive food experiences for our residents to learn better health and wellness habits. Sandy Mitchell leads the ECK and shared more in a Q&A about her role and passion for the art of homemade cooking.
Q: What is your role at Primo Center and how long have you worked here?
A: I am the Program Administrator for the Englewood Community Kitchens (ECK). I am responsible for providing our residents and staff with cooking, nutrition and wellness education activities. I am also responsible for orchestrating and overseeing community events in the space. This includes promoting the ECK as an asset to community organizations, conducting tours and maintaining a calendar of events and publicizing the events to the Greater Englewood Community. I’ve been in this role for the past 18 months.
Q: Why did you chose your profession?
A: I grew up in a large family (12 siblings) and food was always being prepared in the house. My mom was an excellent baker and cook who required all hands-on deck to assist. I was inspired by her to share the art and love of cooking foods of the African Diaspora with others. I graduated from culinary school with the hope of teaching the “lost art” of homemade cooking and baking.
Q: What about your work gives you the greatest satisfaction?
A: I enjoy working with others that share the same passion for food that I have. Being able to engage with our residents, especially the children, through various cooking demonstrations and workshops brings me tremendous joy. I am thrilled to witness their sense of delight and pride when they prepare something on their own and actually enjoy eating it.
I know that teaching good nutrition habits and healthier cooking techniques will eventually lead to improved health outcomes for the families and community served by the ECK.
Q: The mission of Primo Center is to empower people to live their best and healthiest lives free from poverty and homelessness. Considering the challenges our families/individuals face (racism, health disparities, lack of basic resources) made even more apparent this past year, what is your hope for our families/staff/community moving forward?
A: My hope for our families and staff going forward is that they take a more active role in improving their eating habits and physical fitness. I look forward to resuming in-person cooking/baking classes and establishing a baking as therapy program. Of course, I will continue to provide healthy smoothies on “Smooth Move” Fitness Mondays for staff!
Englewood Community Kitchens is an excellent resource for all ages! It is gratifying to engage with Primo Center residents and collaborate with community partners who desire to positively impact the health disparities experienced by so many. ECK is truly a gem!
Q: What is your favorite quote/mantra?
People will forget what you said,
People will forget what you did, but
People will never forget how you
made them feel.
– Maya Angelou
“Students will remember how we treated them long after they forget what we taught them.” – Author Unknown
A life spent helping others is a life filled with purpose.