The idea that eating right is key to healthy, happy kids is not a new one. But cooking right? That’s a different story, and it’s where the PB&J Fund comes in. The local nonprofit gives kids and families access to kitchens where they can learn to plan and prepare nutritious meals and develop a healthy diet. And the recent completion of a year-long renovation means the job gets done even better.
Previously, PB&J was only using loaner kitchens around town. And while it will still hold classes at partner locations, the new space allows for larger, on-site programs, too, plus a reception and classroom area for afterschool activities, a conference room, and offices for staff.
Overseen by Mike Ball of Element Construction, the project was a complete gut job—everything in the former vintage guitar shop is new. “The space looked a little like a run-down dungeon when we started,” Ball said.
“We did a tile floor in the bathrooms using real pennies; we did some workspace desks out of reclaimed joists and some black pipe; we did some really fun and colorful cabinetry in the kitchen; some great glass partitions; and we even cut portholes into a door between the kitchens.”
The folks at PB&J took what they liked about the loaner kitchens they’d worked in (places like Buford Middle School and the Boys & Girls Club) and went from there, combining elements of what worked best.
“It’s organized in such a way that they know what they need to do and it helps the flow and the learning environment,” program director Alicia Cost recently told NBC29. “The students are learning knife skills, culinary skills, and even math along the way.”
PB&J currently partners with Charlottesville City Schools; The Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia; Children, Youth & Family Services; and The Ivy Creek School. Anyone who is a member or is enrolled with one of the partners can participate. Visit pbandjfund.org for more information.