Volunteer Spotlight: Manju Karkare

Manju Karkare is a Registered Dietitian who volunteers with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Nutrition Education division, leading Cooking Matters grocery store tours and cooking classes. What do you find rewarding about volunteering with IFFS?

My greatest reward is when the cooking class participants try something new and like it. Once a senior member of the class told me she actually stopped eating frozen breakfast sandwiches and potato chips. A group of high schoolers said they loved the smoothies and enjoyed taking part in making their own lunches. The moments when they realize that eating healthy is possible on the budget is glorious to me.

There are numerous different places to volunteer in the Triangle. Why IFFS?

Nutrition is my profession. Food and education are my passion. I enjoy teaching. The gratitude that class participants show is immense and their stories keep me humble. It is a great experience working with the team of volunteers and the IFFS AmeriCorps members. Plus, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle allows me flexibility in scheduling my time to volunteer.

What's the most fun you ever had volunteering with the Food Shuttle?

It is most fun when the team works together well. There have been many instances when the cooking class team (chef, assistant, and nutrition instructor) struck a chord and just knew what needed to be done and when. Working together for six weeks gives us a chance to get to know each other and ways to work together well. I have come to know many Cooking Matters volunteers and have had the opportunity to be a part of many wonderful teams.

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If you would like to volunteer with the IFFS Nutrition Education division, email CookingMatters@FoodShuttle.org. Backgrounds in culinary arts, nutrition, or education are highly encouraged, but not required. Translators and Spanish-speaking volunteers are always needed.

To learn about all IFFS volunteer opportunities, click here.


By Lindsay Humbert, IFFS Digital Media Specialist. Contact: Lindsay@FoodShuttle.org