Slow Dinner Hopes to Speed Up Success in Kenya

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Kenyan kids with Cradle to Career executive director Jene Meece.  — Photo courtesy Jene Meece ©
Kenyan kids with Cradle to Career executive director Jene Meece.
— Photo courtesy Jene Meece ©

Local foodies are invited to an upcoming dinner to try a new trend that will not only satisfy their palate but also benefit a local charity that supports kids in Kenya.

On June 5, Vitaly Caffe in Costa Mesa will host an Italian “‘slow food movement’ dinner and wine experience” to raise funds for Newport Beach-based Cradle to Career: Kenya. The nonprofit supports Kenyan orphans and vulnerable children from toddler age to young adults through hope, education and empowerment.

“Slow Food is a way of thinking, a way of eating and a way of living. It is a global phenomena that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to the community and environment,” C2C executive director Jene Meece quoted Slow Food USA in the C2C newsletter.

Cradle to Career: Kenya inspired artwork on display at Vitaly Caffe in Costa Mesa. — Photo Art by Michele Fraichard ©
Cradle to Career: Kenya inspired artwork on display at Vitaly Caffe in Costa Mesa.
— Photo Art by Michele Fraichard ©

Vitaly is also displaying artwork by Michele Fraichard that features photos of the C2C kids superimposed over Kenyan inspired graphics. A portion of the sales will benefit Cradle to Career.

The slow food movement is meant to counteract fast food and a fast life style.

The event will feature four courses and wine pairings.

“We’ll savor local ingredients and food cooked from scratch,” she said. “So join us as we dine under the stars. It will be an opportunity to appreciate delectable cuisine and help others in the process.”

On June 14, a private residence in Corona del Mar will host a “fun filled Evening of Spain” for C2C.

Cradle to Career: Kenya is planning the festive event that will feature paella cooked on site, tapas, sangria, wine and more.

Both events begin at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $50, which includes a $10 donation for the children of C2C.

A $10 donation is the equivalent of a month of breakfasts for one child at the primary school in Kenya, Meece explained.

The dinners are a creative way to raise awareness and funds for the organization, she said.

A lot has been happening recently with the program, Meece said..

They added a grade at Fanaka Primary School in order to support more and more students before the head off to high school. She hopes to add one more grade level every years, she said.

The child continues to Mt. Olive Academy, a boarding school through eighth grade, or attends local day schools in the area.

They have been working a lot on expanding and refurbishing the two schools.

C2C: Kenya also received quite a donation this last week.

“The students at Our Lady Queen of Angels School competed by grade level over a one week period to fill buckets outside their classroom with pennies,” Meece explained in an email. “It was a ‘penny war’ according to the principal, Eileen Ryan.”

The pennies are in memory of Alex Chisholm who attended the school. The money raised will go toward the Alex Chisholm Scholarship Fund.

On top of all that, the program will graduate it’s first three girls in November, Meece said.

During college the student works in community service as part of the agreement.

Once she completes an internship in the U.S., she returns to Kenya to ‘pays it forward’ by agreeing to pay 10% of her salary back to the program

The trio of soon-to-be graduates will earn their degrees in IT, accounting and law. They will likely start their internship next summer.

“It’s very exciting,” she said.

 

For more information, visit C2CKenya.org, michelefraichard.com, and vitaly.net.

Kenyan kids and Jene Meece.  — Photo courtesy Jene Meece ©
Kenyan kids and Jene Meece.
— Photo courtesy Jene Meece ©
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