Project: My Sister’s Kitchen

Organization: The Gathering Place

𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙂𝙖𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙚 received $3000 for “My Sister’s Kitchen”. As a result of a focus group with some of its female clients, the participants suggested evening cooking classes where women would learn some cooking skills and be able to take the leftovers from the evening home. The women will decide on the menu, make the grocery list, determine amounts, prepare the food and pack containers to take food home. The program will develop resilience for those experiencing food insecurity, improve social skills, provide nutritious food and build confidence and enjoyment in cooking.



Dear Board Members,

Firstly I would like to say thank you for the $3000 you provided for a cooking class at The Gathering Place.  We got off to a slow start due to closures as a result of Covid.  We started our cooking classes Feb. 9, 2022 and completed the last class  June 30, 2022.


We had a trained chef instructing classes and we had 8 women registered for course but some evenings during cooking class we opened class to any shelter women who would like to attend.   Most cooking classes we had 12 women and put on extra vegetables to feed our Guests.


The women knew a lot about cooking on a budget and they provided class with recipes and budgets.  We had traditional NL meals such as Jiggs Dinner and cold plates but we also made pizzas , Chinese food   pork roasts, and pasta dishes .  The classes created a sense of community among the women and new friendships were formed.  


The leadership team at TGP popped into our cooking classes because people in the building were drawn to the aromas coming from our class.  The most important thing that occurred in our classes was the level of sharing the women did with each other.  Our female Guests disclosed that they were in abusive relationships, suffered low self esteem and many felt hopeless about their current living arrangements.  


As a result of the disclosures in our cooking classes I contacted Ruah Counselling Centre and together we created a Self Help Program for women at TGP.  The group meet once per week and we are continuing this support group due to demand.   The Self Help Program supports women who struggle spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally.  


The men at TGP approached me and wondered why they could not do a cooking class because it was shared among Guests as a great evening out and strong bonds were formed between the women.  As a  result of the success of program established by the Fig Fund,  we also allocated funds from another source to have a men’s cooking class during the summer.  I had 24 males sign up for classes.  We also opened the Self Help Group to our male Guests because they also struggle with the same issues. 


The Fig Fund was a great gift to TGP that keeps on giving.  As a result of this wonderful funding source we developed a new program ( Self Help Group) and also provided a men’s cooking class.   The Fig Fund helped us expand our services by addressing the needs expressed by participates of My Sister’s Kitchen. 


I have been a front-line social worker for 36 years and My Sister’s Kitchen has been one of the highlights of my career.    This group accomplished so much more that a food budget and recipes.  It assisted TGP in building a community and support system for some of the most vulnerable in our community.  We developed relationships and a safe space were women could gather and share on a level that is not possible in the day to day operations of serving 100’s of people a day with complex needs.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart because your funding has expanded programming at TGP to address needs of our women. 


I have attached pictures and looking forward to presenting to your group in May 2023.


Kindest regards,


Lucille Brennan, BA, RSW

Guest Empowerment Coordinator

This program will be completed by the end of 2022,  we look forward to updating you all on their progress!

My Sister’s Kitchen