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Angela Farley: Woman of the Week

angela_nextiesI met Angela Farley in 2012 when she reached out to me while I planning the second Mamas Night Out event. After an article appeared in the newspaper about the event, I got an email from her telling me that she was a local cancer mom, had no idea there were other cancer moms like her in the area and could she please get a ticket to the sold-out event. Of course the answer was yes, and I looked forward to meeting her. When she found me at the event a few weeks later and asked to be directed toward some other cancer mom, I saw an amazing energy in her, a great sense of humor and a huge heart capable of doing great things.

In 2011, Angela’s youngest son Charlie was diagnosed with a rare type of pediatric lung cancer called pleuropulmonary blastoma. Their life was suddenly filled with appointments, long car trips back and forth from UCSF, and significant struggles with chemotherapy and surgery. When a family is first thrown into a crisis like this, friends rally around to do whatever they can to help, with a big thing being meal delivery. As the months wore on, Angela noticed meals delivered by friends began to taper off. She knew the importance of nourishing our bodies with healthy foods was so important when facing a health crisis, and vowed to make a difference in the lives of others by offering delivered meals to those in crisis due to illness.

While having lunch with a friend, as Charlie neared the end of his treatment, Angela learned about an organization called The Ceres Community Project. Ceres brings local teens into the kitchen, connects them with healthy food knowledge and real cooking skills, and gives them a chance to learn and to give back to their larger community by delivering food to those who are facing serious illness. When Charlie finished his treatment in April of 2012, Angela went to a weeklong training with Ceres and set out to create Teen Kitchen Project. She started asking anyone she knew who was connected to food, nutrition, kitchens, and farms to join the team. Angela knew that Food is an age-old way of showing love and support and providing comfort for others and her effort should revolve around whole, healthful foods.  While delivering the healthy meals in itself is great, Teen Kitchen Project also provides teens a way to gain skills in cooking healthy food, learn about the impact of their food choices, and build connections through community service.

Teen Kitchen Project delivered their first meal in September of 2012. Since that first chaotic cook, TKP has grown to include over 150 volunteers who help the program prepare and deliver between 350-450 of meals per week. In just under 3 years, TKP has delivered over 31,000 meals. Angela’s personal mission is to reduce isolation felt during serious illness, support healing with nourishing meals, and connect young people in meaningful ways to others in their community.

After leading a classroom at a local Montessori school for 15 years, Angela will move into the Executive Director role of TKP full time next month. Always enthusiastic to learn new things, Angela is deeply entrenched in learning everything she needs to know to guide Teen Kitchen Project into the next phase. When not doing the work of TKP, you will find Angela cleaning her house, figuring out how to raise happy and productive kids and camping in her VW pop up anywhere there is water.

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