Volunteerism connects designer to community
Kitchen designers create spaces for families to come together to eat, talk and live, according to David Cook, designer with Design Galleria in Atlanta, GA. Cook has taken that concept to another level, implementing it on a community-wide scale. With Design Galleria team member Rachel Martin, he volunteered with the Meals On Wheels program in Atlanta (MOWA) to restructure the entire massive facility and design a working kitchen for volunteers to come together to fight senior hunger and isolation. Design Galleria donated its time and services and recruited partners and vendors to contribute to the effort.
Cook and Martin raised over $6 million, which went to optimizing the production facility, relocating and expanding the kitchen zone, relocating and expanding the staging area, relocating and expanding the refrigeration zone, and creating an event space. MOWA’s old kitchen, which was built decades ago and was designed to support 200,000 meals per year, has not been able to keep pace with demand, which has increased to more than 600,000 meals annually in recent years. The retrofit increased the capacity of the facility four-fold, which translates to many more seniors in the Atlanta area being able to receive hot meals each day.