Mason Community Kitchen, a newly-formed nonprofit association, recently received a grant of $1,000 from the Mason Community Foundation. The grant will be used for startup costs and initial purchases of food and containers.Mason Community Kitchen was organized by Scott Zesch, Judy Branch, and Cindy Powell primarily to prepare frozen meals that will be distributed to needy families free of charge. Volunteers will assemble once a month at the school kitchen, cook mass quantities of a one-dish meal, package the food in small containers, freeze it, and store it for distribution later. Tentative plans are to begin operations in January 2012, depending on when licensing with the Texas Department of State Health Services is complete.The organization is currently putting together a roster of volunteers. If you are interested in helping cook, package meals, and clean up afterward, please contact Scott Zesch at firstname.lastname@example.org or (325) 347-6291.You don’t have to be a whiz in the kitchen to volunteer. If you’re willing to open cans, fill and seal containers, wash pots and pans, mop the floor, or carry out the garbage, Mason Community Kitchen needs you. By putting your name on the volunteer roster, you are not obligated to help every time, only when you are able.Carol Conlee will serve as chair of fundraising activities for the organization. One of her proposed ideas is an “Empty Bowls” event, whereby contributors listen to live music while they are served a meal of soup and bread in handcrafted bowls donated by artists. The guests are then asked to keep the empty bowls as a reminder of those who live with hunger throughout the world. If you would like to help Carol, please contact her at email@example.com or (325) 347-7758.Mason Community Kitchen is deeply grateful to the Community Foundation for its help in getting this project off the ground. In addition, we thank Betty Simon, Barbara Tatsch, Pam Kruse, and the school board for their efforts in making the school kitchen available for this service project. Also, Stanley Grote has generously donated a deep freeze for Community Kitchen to use in storing its products.Many people have already expressed interest in helping. So far, women volunteers outnumber men three to one. Men, don’t be shy. It is well known that many of you can cook, or at least carry boxes.Memorials and contributions to support the work of the organization may be sent to Mason Community Kitchen at P.O. Box 711, Mason, TX 76856.Mason Community Kitchen may eventually be able to expand its services if it receives sufficient support in the form of both contributions and volunteer help. Similar organizations in other towns have gotten local youth groups involved in hunger relief efforts and trained disadvantaged people in kitchen skills to help them find employment.