When Diane Hoffman cooks a meal at the shelter, she puts love into it.
Residents at Guadalupe Center Shelter in Greeley have noticed her thoughtful and tasty creations from chicken cordon bleu to meat with cherry balsamic dressing to a stuffed salami and mortadella ham appetizer.
“They have told me ‘you cook like we mean something,’” said Diane, who runs a bed and breakfast business in Greeley. Guadalupe Community Center, which provided 43,292 meals and 17,948 nights of shelter in fiscal year 2017, is made possible largely by volunteers.
Diane, 55, began to volunteer seven years ago at the front desk and then started cooking in the shelter kitchen. She said she felt motivated to give back in gratitude for her blessings, including traveling and a family.
“I’m blessed that I can travel to these cool places and that I can give back,” Diane said.
And she loves to cook. Diane began holding monthly meal planning classes to teach residents how to cook healthy recipes. Her classes instruct residents how to cook four meals a day for four people on a $20 budget.
“It’s nice to see what you’re doing makes a difference,” she said.
She also cooks monthly dinners for residents with a group of volunteers. She shops for food on sale, crafts a recipe and cooks in the shelter’s kitchen.
“We all have the same 24 hours and you have to choose what to do with it,” she said about volunteering.
She recommends that other volunteers “find their passion and that’s how you’ll want to give back. Give it a chance.”
Learn more about volunteer opportunities at ccdenver.org/volunteer.