At Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, cooks prepare three meals a day. And between the eight girls and eight boys who live in the facility, sometimes they help out in the kitchen too.
Jim Vetter, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch vice president of Programs, says the kitchen is one area they use to help teach the youth, who are in the foster care system, life skills. Throughout their lives, the seventh through twelfth graders have suffered trauma and go through individual and family therapy. In some cases, they haven’t been taught how to use and eat fresh vegetables at home.Four years ago, the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch allowed the youth to start their own garden. They even have a greenhouse on site.
But the garden isn’t enough to keep all the kids fed all the time, so Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is part of the Hunger Free ND program.
Basin’s Backyard Garden volunteers dropped off 24 pounds of cucumbers, lettuce, parsley, basil, string beans, beets with beet greens and snow peas.
Kim Uffelman, one of two cooks on site, was thankful. “I’m always trying to get the kids to try new things, introduce foods they haven’t tried before,” she says. She plans to boil the beets, peel them, and then cut them up and saute them with butter.