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Lentil Luau to End Hunger in Central Florida

Feeding Children Everywhere

It was such pleasant surprise to receive an email from Karleigh Debose, Community Engagement Intern at Feeding Children Everywhere inviting us to join their community Hunger Project in Central Florida.

I had not met them before, but their name alone immediately caught my attention. I was excited to learn more about their mission.

Through the power of lentils, Feeding Children Everywhere empower and mobilizes the community to provide healthy meals for local children. Our assignment was to prepare a distinctive recipe to match the “Hawaiian theme” and serve about 125 people.

They suggested Hawaiian Lentils, I have never cooked such thing.

It just so happens that the week before, during a condiment hunting session, I found a Pink Himalayan salt grinder and a unique black Hawaiian salt at a nearby department store. The black Hawaiian salt is typical from the Pacific Islands. It’s made with their Island salt, coal and coconut shells. To me it has a sizzling ocean salty flavor, which goes great with pineapple and ginger.

Timing was perfect, I accepted the challenge.

The lentil package is a complete meal that provides all natural ingredients to create a lentil casserole to sustain daily nutritional needs. Its pre measured and the package has cooking instructions. So far easy breezy.

I had to find a way to turn a lentil casserole into a "Hawaiian" lentil casserole and keep the nutritional integrity of the dish. Once I accepted some of the operation’s volunteers delivered lentil packages to serve 150, fresh pineapples and coconut water. The lentil package content includes lentils, white rice, dehydrate vegetables, pink Himalayan salt.

To complete the "Hawaiian" profile I added cumin, ginger, onion powder, garlic, black Hawaiian salt, black pepper, I also added vegetable broth instead of just water. Other than dealing with the bulky amount of casserole the cooking process was also pretty easy. The key is to bring the water to boil and then adding the coconut water and vegetable broth.

When I arrived to their Longwood, Florida facilities, the building was decorated according to the Hawaiian theme and volunteers where flashing traditional Island outfits.

I met the amazing team that makes the operation possible, led by chief executive officer, David Green. Their enthusiasm was contagious and it was a very impressively organized operation. Everywhere I looked, volunteers were engaged and seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The volunteer team kept the event moving and problem solved joyfully. It was refreshing to see young leadership engaged professionally while serving with their hearts.

I had to ask, DeBose, a Junior in Business Management at UCF, expected to graduate in 2018, what motivated her to choose this type of service opportunity. Here is her inspirational response;

“I chose to apply for this internship because I was looking for a unique experience! Feeding Children Everywhere allows you to be hands on, and see the impact that you are making in the world! You are presented with opportunities to have unforgettable experiences with unforgettable people! The culture is also so welcoming and inclusive of all backgrounds! Here they believe that there are no limits, and they encourage your creativity and innovation! These are the reason why I chose to intern at FCE!

What I love about Feeding Children Every where’s Mission is that they empower and mobilize people to assemble healthy meals for hungry children! So not only do they encourage and inform you on how to end hunger, but they also provide you with the resources necessary to do so! It is truly a blessing to intern for a company that meets you exactly where you are! We are blessed to be a blessing!

One of the most important things that I have learned about Non-profit work is the importance of Acceptance and Togetherness! At feeding Children Everywhere we say that we are “Love based and operate in Grace". It is so important to love and accept people right where they are, and to show grace no matter what the situation! Non-profit work is also a group effort, and it takes a lot of great minds to conquer such a great mission! At Feeding Children Everywhere we are better together!

In the future, I plan to finish my bachelor's degree at The University of Central Florida in Business Management, then go on to receive my master's degree. I am completely open to whatever God has in store for me concerning my future career, but no matter what I do I plan to stay involved with non-profit organizations because I love to give back in any way possible.”

Truly inspiring young lady and I can say the same for the rest of the team making things happen at FCE.

During the Luau for Lentils event on June 25th we packed 40,000 lentil casserole meals to be delivered in Central Florida to nurture low income children whose families are facing challenges to secure nutritional food items.

Volunteers enjoyed great music, Hula dance and learned more about the story and future goals of FCE.

The lunch service went smooth and we got great feedback from everyone who stopped at the table for seconds and asked us about the recipe and how it was cooked, the “Hawaiian” lentil casserole was a total success pleasing the masses.

To learn more about Feeding Children Everywhere, their future projects, calendar and how to volunteer visit;

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