Why Cooking Matters to This Volunteer

Kimberly (Daycock) Talley has volunteered with Cooking Matters at Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) for over five years. During that time she has completed 21 courses, 12 workshops and one tour. She also volunteers at Ronald McDonald House, Red Shoe Society, Don’t Forget to Feed Me Pet Food Bank, and Union Gospel Mission.

As we close out Volunteer Appreciation Month, enjoy this Q&A interview with Kimberly. If you’re interested in becoming a Cooking Matters volunteer, join us for one of our upcoming volunteer training opportunities. The next training events take place on Tuesday, May 21 and Thursday, May 23. Visit tafb.org/volunteer for all of our opportunities.

What was your best class experience?

While I have enjoyed all of the Cooking Matters classes I’ve facilitated, there is one that sticks out in my mind as most memorable. The class was with special needs students attending Tarrant Community College. This was the first opportunity I had to interact closely with special needs individuals, as well as their caregivers, and it forced me to adjust my facilitation and demonstration methods. All of the participants were so appreciative of the time we took to teach them to become more self-sufficient, and they were full of smiles and gratitude on graduation day!

What is something you have learned by teaching Cooking Matters classes?

Honestly, before Cooking Matters, I had never broken down a whole chicken! Now, I do it all the time, both in class and at home. I’ve also learned a lot about nutrition from the staff that I can apply in my own life.

What is your favorite part of the Cooking Matters class?

It’s the hands-on cooking portion. I enjoy watching the participants explore new cooking techniques, venture outside the box to learn something new, and exhibit the pride they feel when they are done cooking that week’s dish.

What advice do you have for other volunteers?

The six-week commitment might sound overwhelming, but it really isn’t. What keeps me coming back is that you get to work with a great group of TAFB staff and meet other volunteers. You get to know the participants over the six-week period and learn their stories. Most of them are eager to learn and look to you for advice on improving their cooking and nutrition habits. At least one person walks away with learning something new and that in itself is very rewarding.