Charity finds recipe for success, teaches homeless children cooking skills

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Take a look at a unique, life-affirming program started by a young woman who's filling souls as much as stomachs. (KTRK)

When is a pizza more than just dough, cheese, sauce, and toppings?

When it's prepared by young cooks who are inspired to use their minds, their creativity in ways they may have never thought possible.

"We're broadening their horizons," explained Blair Bentley, the founder of Homemade Hope. "Many of them don't get out of the shelter and these field trips are so amazing."

This weekend, Main Kitchen in downtown Houston hosted 20 children and taught them how to make their own pizzas. The children are homeless. The field trip is part of a year round outreach started Bentley.

"There's something very nurturing about having a home cooked meal," she said. "These kids don't get to experience that; the smells, touching the dough, those things. It's very therapeutic. It's making their shelter into a home."

Bentley and the chefs who volunteer to help her teach the children about nutrition, healthy eating, and much more.

Among the students was 9-year-old Emerald Sterling.

"I just made an Italian pizza," she said, her paper chef's hat atop her head. "It's fun. You get to learn a lot of stuff about dough and the things you put on it."

The lessons here are priceless for these children who live in crisis or women's shelters or transitional living centers. The once a week program is more intensive in the summer. And it is always intended to be as fun as it is educational and self-esteeming building.

And after the food is prepared, the chefs cook it, and children get to taste their creations.

Except for Emerald. She told us she's saving her pizza for her mom.

For more information about the charity, visit http://www.homemadehope.org/.
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