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From Counting Numbers to Counting Smiles

A Food Heroes Story

Post Date:06/23/2020 1:56 PM

“It’s a rewarding job,” said Angela Washington, a #FoodHero who has been working with TRIO Community Meals and the San José Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services for 6 years. 

It takes skills to serve the community, thankfully, food heroes like Washington have what it takes. Her job for these organizations have always revolved around serving the most vulnerable populations in the community. 

For most of her career, she was an accountant. But when changes came, she chose a new path where she could apply her gift of cooking. Since beginning her job as a lead cook, she has picked up on some of the necessary skills one needs to serve those in need. Passion, effort and creativity are the key skills. 

Washington loves doing what she’s doing, and that drives her to come to work and cook delicious meals. But she doesn’t want to make just some basic meals. Combining her creativity, effort, and passion, she aims at making every dish special.

The seniors, who she serves appreciate her cooking genius, referring to the thanks and gratitude she receives from clients. However, with shelter-in-place, she has not been able to talk or see the seniors as she used to. “They [had] become like family,” and “I miss them,” she shared. 

Where did she get these skills? Mostly from a lifelong gift. Angela told us she had never considered cooking professionally, and spent most of her work life as an accountant. Thus, she learned most of her cooking skills at home and cooking with friends. 

Serving the community comes in many forms, but one of the most important ways is addressing food insecurity. Organizations across the valley have come together to build food distribution networks. She encourages everyone to volunteer with any of these organizations that are helping feed the vulnerable. 

Even if you are not a cook, you can learn! In “her own” kitchen at Seven Trees Community Center, Angela had to train rookies when staffing was short. People who have never been in the kitchen came to help out, and Angela taught them what she knew. “We encourage volunteers to come so they can learn,” Washington shares with the community. 

At the end of the day, even when Washington can’t see the seniors who receive her meals, she knows that they have smiles on their faces. She told us, “... that while I put a smile on their face, they actually put a smile on mine.” 

You can also get involved by visiting Silicon Valley Strong is county wide mobilization of volunteers and funds to help people in need during tough times. If you are in need or are looking for food resources,

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