Peggy Towle of Palo Cedro wasn’t exactly looking for something to do when she read a story about how the Culinary Arts Program at Foothill High School was raising money to upgrade the 16 year old kitchens in the former homemaking classroom so that students could become familiar with all aspects of a commercial kitchen. The retired grandmother was enjoying spending more time with her daughter Karen Steppat and her grandchildren. But when Towle learned that her granddaughter Maddie had wanted to sign up for Culinary Arts but had been placed on a waiting list, she decided to see if there was anything she could do to help.
She called the teacher Ashley Marsh, who told her that she and her students had been raising money for several years to upgrade the six little mini-kitchens that had been suitable for the homemaking classes for which they had been constructed, but did not allow her to teach the students how to prepare restaurant-style meals, one of the primary goals of the program. In addition to the kitchens being too small, the equipment is worn out. The stoves are cracked; the ovens don’t hold heat; and the whole electrical system needs to be retrofitted. Marsh estimated the total cost for the project at $135,000.
When Towle asked how she could help, Marsh suggested she look into applying for grants. Towle took a grant-writing workshop and decided that what the Culinary Arts Program needed was a non-profit boosters group, so she formed one. She helped the Boosters get their non-profit status and set up a GoFundMe page to solicit donations for the cause. To access the page, search the GoFundMe website for “Update Foothill HS student kitchens.”
The Culinary Arts Program Boosters are currently preparing a letter that will go out to the community requesting donations to refurbish the kitchens and recently received a grant from the Redding Rancheria for $1500.