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Ohio State students serve favorite recipes to those in need

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Members of Recipe 4 Good serve a meal at Manna Cafe. Credit: Courtesy of Brittney Folisi

Some Ohio State students are cooking for the greater good.

Recipe 4 Good is a student organization that combines a passion for cooking and community service through volunteering at local soup kitchens.

Brittney Folisi, president and third-year in logistics management, said a universal love of food has enabled her to connect with other organization members and those they serve.

“I love how food kind of brings people together,” Folisi said. “It’s a common speaking point or talking point for people so you can never have an awkward conversation about food because everybody has an opinion on it.”

Recipe 4 Good hosts social events, fundraisers and volunteer opportunities — all centered around food, Folisi said. She said members teach each other how to cook a specific recipe during monthly dinners. The organization then cooks and serves the meal at shelters throughout Columbus twice a month for those in need. Recent meals have included pulled pork, lasagna and their most popular dish, Swedish meatballs, Folisi said.

Folisi said Recipe 4 Good has developed long-standing relationships with Manna Cafe and the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio since the organization’s inception in 2012, but has since expanded their service to Faith Mission, Mid-Ohio Foodbank and the YMCA Van Buren Center.

“Everywhere in the Columbus community, people need help,” Folisi said. “There’s never a time where places are like, ‘Oh no, we’re good on volunteers.’”

Sara Isaac, volunteer chair and third-year in medical laboratory science, said a typical night of volunteering consists of two shifts. She said the first shift of volunteers has two hours to prepare a meal for about 200 people from scratch and the second shift serves the meal to those at the shelter and cleans up afterwards.

Isaac said serving meals to those in need has exposed her to a different perspective than that of her lifestyle at Ohio State.

“A lot of people live in a bubble and come from more of a privileged circumstance, so (volunteering) really gives people the opportunity to see that there are different types of people out there in the world,” Isaac said.

After cooking and serving meals, Folisi said Recipe 4 Good shares conversations with those it has served as members eat dinner with them. She said the opportunity to connect personally with recipients motivates selfless volunteerism.

“Sometimes volunteering gets misconstrued like, ‘Oh, I’m going to do this good thing,’ and people think they’re going to get good karma for it,” Folisi said. “I feel like people don’t always do volunteering for the right reasons … volunteering isn’t just about what I want to get out of it, it’s about what other people get out of it.”

Isaac said Recipe 4 Good encourages participation from all majors and welcomes all levels of cooking experience.

Meeting times and volunteer dates for Recipe 4 Good vary each month and can be found on the organization’s website.

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