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Jefferson Award Winner Serves Up Warm Meals, Sense Of Community For SF Seniors

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Jefferson Award Winner Cynthia Kang (CBS)

Jefferson Award Winner Cynthia Kang (CBS)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Even if you cooked a lot over the holidays, you probably didn’t cook as much as this week’s Jefferson Award winner: she’s been feeding dozens of people every week for ten years.

It wasn’t even eight in the morning when we caught up with her, but Cynthia Kang maneuvered through the supermarket aisles with the speed of an athlete, looking for sales and seasonal specials. It’s her Monday morning ritual.

Kang cooks for the Doris Krauss Senior Center at Old First Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. The center offers a free lunch once a week for 40 to 50 neighborhood seniors.

“I love cooking,” Kang explained. “My passion is cooking and it’s kind of therapeutic for me.”

In a small industrial kitchen, Kang creates meals from scratch—“comfort food” on a tight budget. A recent menu of meat loaf, salad, and mashed potatoes with mushrooms, with a holiday cake came to just under $120. But the look on her guests’ faces is worth so much more.

“When I see seniors being happy, when they are served, and they come and get a second helping, it just makes me feel so satisfied,” Kang said.

Kang, a human resources consultant, first signed up to help serve one Monday when her church said they were low on volunteers.

“I had the day off, it was a holiday, Labor Day, so I came,” she remembered. “That was ten years ago, and I’m still here.”

Center Director Reverend Eugenia Kinney said many of the seniors are isolated and don’t have access to nutritious meals.

“Most of the people who come live alone, live in a room, and so it’s our mission to try and get them out of that room,” Kinney said. “(Kang) believes very much that there has to be a place that people could come and eat and have fellowship with others. All of us feel loved by what she is doing and the seniors love the food that she makes!”

So for filling the plates and spirits of seniors in her community this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Cynthia Kang.

The Doris Krauss Senior Center needs volunteers to help with activities with the seniors. If you’d like to get involved, use this link to contact the center: http://www.oldfirst.org/seniorcntr.html

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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