City Seed Meets IRIS and Spawns Sanctuary Kitchen

The latest nonprofit venture in Greater New Haven is Sanctuary Kitchen, a program of City Seed that works with Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Service (IRIS). It was formed “to promote and celebrate the culinary traditions, cultures, and stories of refugees resettled in Connecticut.” Concretely, this means cooking demonstrations, hands-on cooking classes, supper club meals, and other culinary events led by resettled refugees from Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Colombia, Cuba, Iran, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cooks are compensated for their efforts with revenue generated from event ticket sales.

The team behind this new venture includes City Seed’s Executive Director and Kitchen Program Manager, as well as women who have volunteered with IRIS and have been active in CT’s (and the world’s) nonprofit scene. Partner organizations include Gateway Community College, New Haven Free Public Libraries, Students of Salaam at Yale, and the Ludwig Center for Community & Economic Development at Yale Law School.

Three events are already scheduled for April and May, including a Syrian Cooking Demo at City Seed’s Kitchen this Sunday afternoon.

One of the great things about Sanctuary Kitchen is that it has a great page of ways people can get involved and help. This sort of page is too often omitted from nonprofits’ web sites. The principal ways to help are as a cook, as a translator, or as a partner/collaborator offering space, equipment and other resources, opportunities for the chefs, “opportunities for Sanctuary Kitchen to learn more deeply about the issues affecting communities and how we can work together with people at the grass-roots to create transformative change” or, of course, financial contributions.

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