Englewood Hope Manor II holds veteran cooking class with Greater Chicago Food Depository donations

Maher Kawash Image
Friday, November 10, 2023
Englewood Hope Manor II holds cooking class for veterans
A cooking class for veterans was held by Hope Manor II in Englewood ahead of Veterans Day, using donations from the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Greater Chicago Food Depository is making sure veterans are getting the love they deserve ahead of Veterans Day.

A cooking class was held Friday for a group at Hope Manor II in Englewood. Veterans learned how to make some hamburger mac and cheese.

It was an act of service for those who served.

"It feels good to give back," said Lauren Hightower, client support service coordinator at Hope Manor II. "I feel that as a country we don't give back to our veterans who have given a lot to us. We don't give up enough, so I love that I found s way for them to feel thought about... like they still matter."

Hightower led cooking class, showing them how to make healthier food options with the box of donated food that some of the veterans receive each month from the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

It is a class she started about a year ago.

"One of the veterans expressed that he didn't know how to cook and he was waiting on a wife who will cook for him and I told him, 'what if you never get a wife?'" Hightower said. "So that's how these cooking classes started."

Veteran Marvin Ware participated in the class, going back to his roots from the Navy, where he was a cook.

"It's about love," Ware said. "We share one another... our spirit, strength and hope, and we give each other the input to make each other better."

According to October census household data in Illinois, 5.8% of people who previously served on active duty reported sometimes or often not having enough to eat in the past week.

Ware hopes there are more events like this one for veterans around the country.

"I'm hoping that a lot of veterans get taken care of besides myself, because we are the backbone of this country," Ware said. "We have ensured freedom is free."

As the holidays inch closer, the organization has a number of food drives coming up around the area.

For more information on receiving help or volunteering, visit chicagosfoodbank.org.