When survivors arrive at Newhouse, we first focus on their immediate needs. That includes clothing and shoes, hygiene items, a comfortable room, and food. Our kitchen staff cooks breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and makes sure snacks are available 24/7 for residents.
Some residents have experienced years of food insecurity and find our meals to be nourishing both literally and figuratively. The team takes great pride in offering delicious meals from scratch and using local ingredients.
One of our incredible team members is Teresa. Since August 2014, she has been in the kitchen creating meals for children and adults. In 10 years time, Newhouse has provided almost 11,000 meals, and Teresa has cooked many of them.
Joining the Team
Teresa remembers it feeling great from the start when she joined Team Newhouse in 2014. She had always loved to cook but it was new to her to cook for 80+ people, and while nervous at first, she was a natural and enjoys honing her skills and recipes each year.
As someone who witnessed domestic abuse as a child, she understands the effects of abuse on families and has a passion for helping others be strong through it.
Love in Every Bite
She is a people-person who takes great joy in caring for others. Teresa always liked helping people and describes cooking meals for her whole neighborhood block, just as she now cooks meals for the whole shelter.
Over the years, she has connected with thousands of clients.
“I have loved getting to make food and make connections over so many years. I am here to serve everyone. Some people have been through so much, and I am glad to give them comfort food so they can feel good, safe, and secure.”
Something She Tells Survivors
“Don’t go back to your abuser. Don’t do it. Don’t trust them. They can easily talk you into coming back and one time is enough. Trust your instincts. Follow your mind.”
Teresa is a hugger. It is not uncommon to see her comforting a client in the dining hall.
“I give them a hug because it’s comforting. It’s my way of saying ‘I love you. I care about you. You’re like a sister to me. Be strong and keep your head up.’”
Her Favorite Meal to Cook
“Tacos! Ground beef tacos are one of my specialties.”
Favorite Time of Year for Cooking
“The holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. The cheer, the joy, the people, the laughter. I love it all!”
What Gives Her Joy Beyond Newhouse
She likes to enjoy meals at home and being with her family. She has nine “beautiful and outspoken” grandkids that she “loves to death.”
Thank you, Teresa, for serving survivors at Newhouse through your gifts and talents.
Ready to Get Involved?
Newhouse welcomes groups into the kitchen to help cook and/or serve meals in the kitchen. If you are interested in coming to volunteer with our kitchen staff, we would love to hear from you! Email Ashley@newhousekc.org.