This Volunteer Uses Her Cooking Talents to Increase Access to Food

Know an Outstanding Volunteer? Nominate Them Here!

Kim Doyle Wille, a Colorado native, has been passionate about cooking since she was a young girl creating meals in her childhood home. Overtime, she became skilled enough to 1 of the 7 winners of the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off, and the first ever from the western slope of Colorado. Creating her nonprofit Growing Empowerment for the students and families in Garfield County was a no-brainer.

Wille first came up with the idea for the nonprofit when the recession hit and she needed to call on a local food pantry for assistance. She was shocked to find out they were limited to boxed items full of salt, sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. She wanted others struggling in the community to have healthier options.

Thanks to a local seed company, Wille was able to reward local gardeners willing to donate their extra crops to the pantry, thus creating Growing Empowerment.

As time passed, her passion for helping her community grew. She created an after school gardening program where students could not only learn to grow fresh produce but also how to prepare healthy, fresh meals for their family when they returned home.

“Getting to see the kid’s enthusiasm and energy to make things makes it all worth it,” Wille said.

Through Growing Empowerment, she has been able to collaborate with the Cooking Matters program. One of these collaborations has been teaching at-risk teen parents at Yampah Mountain High School to cook healthy on a budget and give them access to healthy food resources in the community.

“She has a unique gift and inspires many young parents every single day. Growing Empowerment empowers the community through education, sustainable projects, and gardens for hunger relief and economic development within our communities,” said her nominator, Drew Schelling, Cooking Matters Coordinator in Garfield County.

Wille hopes that with this program she can teach teens while they’re still young to learn how to prepare their own food and depend less on unhealthy options like fast food to feed their young families.

“Giving them basic life skills so they feel confident and they can feed themselves, that’s a great thing,” Wille said.

Although Wille could be spending her time investing in her future or other passions like knitting and photography, she chooses to invest in the futures of those in her community.

For her passion and dedication, we honor Kim with our monthly Heart of Volunteerism Award. Congratulations, Kim! #GoVolunteer

Interested in nominating a passionate individual in your community? Click here for our nomination form.

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