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Kayhi culinary making meals for Salvation Army
Nadire Zhuta stirs pasta with CJ Jasper in the Ketchikan High School culinary arts room on Monday morning while preparing chicken alfredo for the Salvation Army. Staff photo by Alaina Bartel

Daily News Staff Writer

A meal fit for the Kings is one fit for the community as well.

The Ketchikan High School advanced culinary class under the direction of Doug Edwards has been cooking meals for the Salvation Army since the beginning of the month, and will be preparing those meals until the end of May.

“Giving to the community is really important. I’ve been (teaching) this for 15 years, … how important it is for the high school to give back to the community. The community gives so much to the high school,” Edwards said.

Around 11 students have been cooking meals during their class period for the organization. So far, they’ve made ling cod chowder and chicken alfredo, and next week, they’re planning to make chili. In total, they will be feeding more than 50 people at the Salvation Army periodically throughout April and May.

“It started a couple of months ago when we heard they were having trouble filling all their days.  I contacted (Lt.) Sam Fowler (of the Salvation Army) and told him we were willing to prepare food for them if someone was able to transport it there,” Edwards wrote to the Daily News.

A few weeks ago, Russell Thomas of Alaska Sportfishing Expeditions, heard what Edwards and the students were doing and asked if he could approach businesses and see if they were willing to fund the food cost, according to Edwards.

Thomas said that was a resounding success. He posted a status on Facebook, saying “We are trying to meet the basic needs of some of Ketchikan’s residents by providing meals.” His post, which also said his business would match each meal pledge from other organizations, had more than 78 people share it on their own Facebook pages.

“There’s obviously people in the community that have resources to help, but just didn’t know how, or didn’t know how to get involved, or maybe just needed to be asked,” Thomas said to the Daily News.

Thomas and his business have been helping the Salvation Army for about a year now, and he wrote on his Facebook that “the cost of time and resources is paid back 10 times in what we have gotten back out of the service opportunity.”

Although the Kayhi culinary department is on board to cook meals until the end of May, Thomas said many other restaurants and chefs have volunteered to help cook for the Salvation Army after that. Thomas hopes this sparks something in the community for more people to lend a helping hand for the Salvation Army.

On Monday morning, the students gathered in the Kayhi kitchen classroom, donned their hairnets and aprons and began preparing the chicken alfredo in their commercial kitchen. Once completed, they put the pasta in a hotel pan and wrapped it. It was then picked up and transported to the Salvation Army.

As steam filled the room from the boiling pasta, Kayhi sophomores Jade Corbett and CJ Jasper took some time to talk to the Daily News. Corbett said she’s had fun helping others and having the opportunity to cook for more than just Kayhi students.

“Everybody loves food,” according to Corbett.

Jasper said it’s particularly enjoyable watching the reactions their culinary creations garner in the community.

“They’re kind of surprised that we make good food and we’re just kids,” he said.