Food. Nothing brings people together like a meal. Cooking is a vital skill for independence. It comes as no surprise that cooking has always been a staple at Great Bay Services, as we strive to promote independence in our members, and integrate them in to the larger community.
At one time, Great Bay Services acted as a more sheltered program, unlike the community-based programs of today. We maintained our own cafeteria for the clients - and by the clients. Our staff worked side-by-side with clients prepping for meals every day.
For several years, we also worked in partnership with Cross Roads House, the homeless shelter in Portsmouth. The shelter operates a commercial kitchen and provides three meals a day to their residents. Our clients volunteered in the kitchen, supporting a great nonprofit and building good job skills.
Even after our move to Dover, and opening the Sanford office, cooking continued at GBS. Through a partnership with St John's, we would cook regularly in their kitchen. Our Sanford members grew their own vegetables at the Sanford Community Garden before using them in delicious and healthy meals.
Recipes are usually around a theme like holidays or seasons. Staff taught health and nutrition along with the cooking classes - with the occasional treat thrown in. A fun job perk of working at GBS was getting to try all the recipes our members created.
The last activity we did was a cooking class. The Dover members created a snack together on March 13, 2020 - the final day before GBS shut down community support programs for the pandemic.
Even now, we're still cooking. Our online Zoom cooking classes are immensely popular with members.
Of course we also have members who do prep work in professional kitchens at area restaurants, in addition to helping with other jobs that keep restaurants organized, clean and safe.
With this long-time connection to food, it was a natural fit for Great Bay to create a cooking-based event for our 2021 fundraiser. We're excited to team up with Chef Justin Walker of Walkers Maine for an online cooking demonstration on May 21.
Join us at 7:00pm, tickets are just $30 per household and available here. All proceeds support all our important programs - including cooking - for local adults with disabilities.
- Elizabeth Worboys Burr, Director of Mission Advancement
Shannon Cantara is our Adult Case Management Department Head and agency Transition Specialist. Shannon holds a Master’s degree in Special Education, and worked as a Special Educator in both Maine and New Hampshire for several years prior to a career shift to work with Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Her extensive knowledge of services and supports during the educational years, as well as adulthood, allows her to provide specialized support in assisting families, clients and guardians with a smooth transition through process of working with the Maine Adult Developmental Services Eligibility and application process.