A helping hand in the kitchen

Lynn University professor and chef cooks up food for the homeless.

Sustainability Day
Craig Schmantowsky
Craig Schmantowsky

The giving spirit has long been an important part of the Lynn University experience. For assistant professor Craig Schmantowsky, it manifests itself each week, as the culinary expert gives of his time to feed the homeless in our area.

Each Friday morning, as the sun comes up, Schmantowsky can be found in the Boca Helping Hands kitchen. The classically trained chef takes the vegetables donated by area restaurants and supermarkets, and prepares dishes for the lunch crowd.

"I take what the donors provide and then try to turn it into something special for the people who come for lunch," says Schmantowsky. "We get a lot of greens, so I'll steam them, sautée them, maybe add some onions and garlic, and make a nice sauce. And then we make main dishes for them such as meatloaf or Shepherd's pie."

For the hundreds of people who make their way to Boca Helping Hands each day, the free food represents desperately needed nourishment and a starting point on their way to self-sufficiency.

"There are a lot of people who really need this," says Schmantowsky, a two-decade-veteran of the Lynn faculty. 'We get individuals and families for whom this is their main meal."

Lynn sends dozens of students to the charitable organization each January during the freshman-class Citizenship Project. Students pack pantry bags, mark cans, serve food and assist the many people who depend on Boca Helping Hands to make ends meet.

"It's a great organization," says "Schmantowsky. "I'm just happy that I can do my part."

Boca Helping Hands provides medical and financial assistance, along with education and job training to the homeless and impoverished of South Palm Beach County.

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