Where Love Grows, a Tampa nonprofit that's been working to end childhood hunger since December 2010, continued its mission this summer by bringing a cooking class series to the Epicurean Hotel for a second year.
In addition to Victoria's Good Table, which provides home-cooked meals for more than 150 children each month, Where Love Grows' five-week cooking camp teaches kids from Tampa area Boys & Girls Clubs how to create their own culinary masterpieces.
The series began July 7, and the final lesson, led by Epicurean chef Max Sherard, took place Wednesday morning. Sherard gave the children hands-on instruction on how to execute simple recipes like burrito bowls. Vicki Anzalone, founder of Where Love Grows, said the hotel's theater was full every week, drawing returning students and others who plan to attend next year.
"Knowing how to prepare food for yourself and your family is such an important skill to have," Anzalone said. "The kids who attend our camp are genuinely enjoying every minute of their time with us, and what they gain from this camp is so crucial for them to have. I feel blessed for being able to bring everything I can to the table."
This year's graduation ceremony for the 26 participants is scheduled for Aug. 5. In 2014, 22 students graduated with a 98-percent attendance rate.
"We're so grateful to be a part of this experience," said Epicurean general manager Tom Haines. "This is such a fantastic cause, and we're always glad to work with Where Love Grows to fight against childhood hunger right here in Tampa."