Charitable Smoothie Bar and Five Kitchen Tour in Downtown Bangkok

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We’re happy to share some photos with you from a recent Courageous Kitchen activity. A few of our students were invited to setup a fruit smoothie bar in the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) headquarters in downtown Bangkok. The students woke up early and traveled more than an hour to get to the hotel. There the staff welcomed us into their office, where they planned to have a special lunch to kickoff the IHG Foundation Week, which aims to promote charities in the region and get their staff around the world thinking about giving back.intercontinental bangkok kitchen tour-3

For our students, many of whom have never eaten in a restaurant or stayed in a hotel, this was a special experience. The staff welcomed them with new t-shirts, notebooks, and a quick briefing on the day’s plans. They were tasked with setting up a smoothie bar in the office’s break room area overlooking Bangkok. They quickly organized themselves into two stations, with specific tasks like collecting money, running the blenders, or asking their “customers” which fruit they preferred to have in their drinks.

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The smoothie bar was a fun challenge for the students and since everyone who had a smoothie gave a small donation, they also raised some funds too. However, that wasn’t all IHG had planned for them. Led by two of the staff, Ben and Elena, the students then filed in to travel back to the hotel lobby where someone special was waiting. When the group exited the elevators into the grand lobby, they were met by Executive Chef Rolando. Chef Rolando is in charge of all of the kitchen for both the Intercontinental Hotel and next door sister hotel, Holiday Inn.

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After a quick introduction, we followed the chef first into the room service area of the kitchen. The look behind the scenes wowed the students and the size of the production was massive. From room service we entered another area responsible for catering for up to 1000 or more guests at one time. To put this in context, Chef Rolando walked the students into one of the behemoth banquet rooms and talked about the giant numbers of staff and things we take for granted like eggs that the hotel uses in one day.

From the chocolate statues in the buffet line, to breathtaking views on the 37th floor, and the exclusive areas of their fine dining restaurants, the students loved their kitchen tour. In the end we visited about 5 kitchens, looking both in the dining area and behind the scenes. The experience was enthralling for our students and we believed will help them to imagine a grand future for themselves in the kitchen or doing food related services.

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Thank you to everyone who supports us, allowing us to do inspirational activities like this one. A special thank you to Ben, Elena, and Bangkok’s IHG office.

If you’re new to Courageous Kitchen, you can help by giving a small monthly donation so we can continue to serve youth in Bangkok and give them them skills and inspiration to last a lifetime!

All photos courtesy of volunteer photographer Kelly Miller.

We Never Lose Our Dreams for Our Children

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“I’ve met so many who have lost so much. But they never lose their dreams for their children or their desire to better our world. They ask for little in return – only our support in their time of greatest need” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

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On June 17th we celebrated World Refugee Day with 100 of our closest friends and neighbors. Our awesome volunteers joined forces and with their efforts, we were able to provide an entire afternoon of health and wellness for the community. We had an art and craft station, a gardening workshop, a make shift salon, and a fitness session led by a volunteer Crossfit Trainer.

Did you know nearly half of all refugees in 2017 are children?

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With the support of another Bangkok based organization, Jesuit Refugee Services, we were able to feed everyone some of our CK favorites: Green Curry, papaya salad, fish, fruit, and all the trimmings. The kids gobbled it up faster than we could plate!

This momentous occasion marked a special one for our families, as we’re typically caught up in the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. When we’re not cooking, we’re teaching English, or visiting a family in need. For Refugee Day we were able to rest our woks and enjoy celebrating the beauty and diversity that makes up Courageous Kitchen, while honoring those that make up this world.

Written by Christy Innouvong and Photos by Dew Napattaloong

No Donation Fees, Just in Time for the Holidays!

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Smoother Donations with Stripe

Holiday giving season is upon us and we’ve just updated our website with Stripe integration to make it easier to take donations! This means whether you’re doing a one time meal sponsorship or interested in setting up a recurring donation to help a family in 2017, it’s easier and fee free for a limited time!

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The Credit Card Option & Incremental Giving

A few of you have written to us about problems with Paypal accounts, or trouble donating from certain places around the world. We’re happy to report these issues should mostly be sorted out and as a registered charity we’re approved for the Stripe Nonprofit program. This means the first $15,000 we raise online before next November, will not be charged any fees! In the future we’ll still be eligible for a discount on fees, but keep in mind this deal is exclusively for Courageous Kitchen in 2017!

When you make a donation on our website the default option should be set to credit card. This processing option is Stripe and you can enter your information securely by following the pop down menus. Paypal lovers don’t fret the option is still available for those who prefer this method and we’ve added a page to explain other donation options too.

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Online shoppers can give small amounts incrementally, but these donations add up!

Finally online shoppers don’t forget you can search for “Courageous Kitchen” in the nonprofit programs on your favorite sites such as Amazon and Ebay. Select us are your charity of choice and when you check out a small percentage of your payment will go towards our efforts creating leaders!

2017 Giving Campaigns

For the holiday and on into 2017 you will see us promoting two giving campaigns. The first is to get our classes funded for the full year next year, with a fundraising goal of $10,000. This is money to cover our shopping expenses for each meal and additional would help us to get more advanced equipment (we are currently only cooking on gas woks) and much needed safety equipment for our fast action kitchen (first aid kids, new fire extinguishers, etc…). This part of the project is the heart of our story and we’ve made the options for giving flexible with a $1 donation to give a plate of food to a student, up to sponsoring an entire cooking class for $100 (you can also choose a custom amount to donate).

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The second mission for 2017 is to get as many families sponsored as possible in our community. As we build stronger families, we also want to strengthen the family unit our students go back to after class. Your sponsorship could enable a family to find safer housing, afford the children in the family a chance to see the doctor, and purchase food and medication. These recurring donations are also better for small organizations like ours, as they allow us to forecast giving into the future and respond quickly to emergency needs.

Thank you for your support and sticking with us as we’ve grown over the past year, we’re confident great things are on the horizon in 2017!