Turlock teens start Kitchens for Change to help tackle food insecurity

TURLOCK, Calif. (KTXL) — Some Turlock teens have been inspired by World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that responds to national disasters to feed those in need, to tackle food insecurity locally. 

Food is cooked, assembled and packaged to-go by Kitchens for Change.

“It’s just been incredible. So many kids are willing and able to come out and help and have fun doing it,” said Elias Rabine, the president and founder of Kitchens for Change. 

The high school club is getting hands-on experience, serving their community. 

“I love food, and I love eating foods. So, this is just a fun thing to be a part of,” Rabine told FOX40. 

The high school senior came up with the idea for Kitchens for Change last year after noticing a need during the pandemic. 

“I recognized a lot of food insecurity, and people were just struggling in general, and I really brainstormed, and I talked to my mom and a couple other kids who helped found this club, and I just thought ‘how, as high school students, can I help that issue?’” Rabine explained. 

The goal was to start a cooking club at Turlock High School and partner with local restaurants and chefs to feed those in need. 

“It’s really fun to get to learn how to cook a lot of these different meals, and I get to learn a lot about different cuisines,” Rabine said.

“Charity work and just working with people in need is really fun,” Kitchens for Change co-founder Keean Young said.

Chef, culinary arts teacher and Rabine’s mother, Mohini Singh, helped take Kitchens for Change from concept to the kitchen and then to the community.  

Restaurants offer up their kitchens on days they’re closed for students to prepare the meals. 

“The restaurant facility, they’re giving up their space. The chefs are volunteering their time; the kids are volunteering their time,” Singh said. “So, it’s definitely a community effort.”

After the food is cooked and packaged, it’s delivered to organizations like the Turlock Gospel Mission.

“So, it’s exciting for me as a teacher, but more so as a parent, to see young kids in a kitchen and actually having fun and actually enjoying themselves,” Singh said. 

In just one year, the Kitchens for Change expanded from Turlock High to Pitman High School, and Singh said other schools are showing interest in starting chapters. 

“We’re really hoping that other districts in bigger areas like Sacramento and Modesto will take up the club and have chapters of their own,” Young said.

“Because every city has restaurants that are closed certain days. Every city has young and upcoming chefs that can get behind these kids, and every city has a high school,” Singh said.

The club is also in the process of becoming a nonprofit of its own. 

“Food is this universal language. It goes across all boundaries, and it connects people,” Singh said.

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