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Teen Kitchen Project

Organization Mission

Teen Kitchen Project’s (TKP) mission is to build healthy communities through food. TKP’s purpose is to address food and nutrition insecurity in Santa Cruz County by providing critically and chronically ill people with home-delivered, medically-tailored free or low-cost meals.

In 2023, TKP will serve approximately 800 individuals (and their families) who are in crisis due to a life-threatening illness. Approximately 70% of our clients are low-income. Two additional goals are to:

• Improve health outcomes for meal recipients by providing them with nutritious, medically-tailored meals
• Improve clients’ knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating habits

The Big Idea 2023:
Meal Delivery for the Critically Ill in Santa Cruz County

In Santa Cruz County, the number of households that lack reliable access to healthy food has grown dramatically since the pandemic, according to a recent survey of the county’s food assistance providers. TKP seeks support to provide approximately 800 critically and chronically ill members of the community with medically-tailored meals in 2023.

Professional chefs train employee/volunteer teen chefs in preparing, cooking and packaging meals for delivery. A Registered Dietitian evaluates meals for nutritional content and adjusts ingredients as needed to comply with heart healthy guidelines. Meals are delivered for up to 24 weeks to individuals, their (unpaid) caregivers and children in the household under the age of 18.

TKP meals are delivered by volunteer drivers who donate their time and gas to cover more than 400 miles per week.

These meals have helped me immensely during this challenging time of treatment. It was one less stress for me, especially needing to go to the hospital every day. I know these meals contributed to my overall well-being.


TKP Client, Santa Cruz