Bay Area home chefs prepare food for the homeless and others in need

A Bay Area non-profit found a new way to feed the homeless and others in need this holiday season.

Community Kitchens trained volunteers to become home chefs.

Parul Patel cooked for the homeless and those in need twice a month. 

She's among dozens of volunteers  who participate in Community Kitchen's Home Chef program.

"I just wanted to help with food insecurity, hunger.  Just do it at a community level," said Patel.

She is a mother of two young children and works part-time, but wanted to give back.  

She bought food out of her own pocket and cooked  the hot meals for the program. 

Patel said it's rewarding.

"This just felt more personable, using our own ingredients, our own resources and pick the meals we want to provide," she said. 

Community Kitchens, a nonprofit, said a portion of a $400,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente funds the training of the home chefs and supplies the packaging for the meals.

The program is part of community kitchen, a nonprofit, says a portion of a $400,000  grant to fund the training of the home chefs and supplies the packaging the meals. 

"It's a way to give some structure to people who want to volunteer and maybe can't necessarily go out on site to somewhere, but really love to cook and really happy. There is this infrastructure we created," said Mollye Chudacoff with Community Kitchens.

The home chef program is ongoing and year-round.  

Each volunteer is also responsible for delivering the meals to one of six refrigerators in various neighborhoods in Oakland.

One refrigerator accessible by the public is located in East Oakland. 

Neighbors said it's much needed.

"It's kept me from going hungry and going to jail," Craig Delk said he lost his job a few months ago and is on the verge of becoming homeless. 
He said he's gotten many hot meals from this refrigerator.

"The food they put in here be good food. It's not garbage.  It's some nice stuff in there," said Delk. "It's a wonderful thing to have people doing stuff like that for us.  There's a lot of people sleeping out on the streets out here."

For Patel, serving the community is nourishing,"Just know that people are in need of food especially now with inflation as well."  

Organizers said volunteers prepare and deliver meals to the public refrigerators three to four times a week.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU