Kids’ Pasta Project History
The Kids’ Pasta Project began as an idea for empowering youth through fundraising dinners and quickly grew to address a broader opportunity for philanthropy education. It has proven to be a way for kids as well as other community members to serve and learn more about our community.
The Kids’ Pasta Project began serving pasta dinners to raise money for the North Fork Valley community in the North Fork Valley in March 2009. The North Fork Community includes the towns of Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford in Delta County, Colorado, an area known for its small farms and vineyards and pioneering spirit.
The idea of the Kids’ Pasta Project was seeded as kids churned out home made pasta in the kitchen and played restaurant. Thinking about sustainable ways to raise money led to involving kids in fundraising and and making it a positive educational experience.
Local chef extraordinaire, Eleni, generously offered her restaurant on Mondays during the school year to create this project, and the link between kids, pasta and sustainable fundraising quickly sprouted.
The original idea of the KPP had to do with raising money for our schools, but as kids got involved in the spirit of service, it became clear that this would not be a project exclusive to one school or one cause. The “school” is all the kids who want to participate and the cause is community.
Since Eleni’s restaurant was open on Mondays in the summer months, we moved to beautiful Scenic Mesa Ranch to serve our dinners, thanks to the generosity of its owners. KPP also enjoyed serving a dinners at Fresh and Wyld Farmhouse Inn in June of 2009. PJ’s of Hotchkiss offered to hold KPP dinners in downtown Hotchkiss until it started opening to serve Italian dinners on Monday nights. The Blue Sage Center for the Arts, The Paonia Teen Center and Delicious Orchards have become KPP dinner venues since that time.
Kids’ Pasta Project Community
● Community organizations benefit from celebratory fundraising dinners. We have served 170 dinners for community organizations since we began in 2009.
● Dinner guests benefit by enjoying a delicious dinner and learning more about the community organizations. The average number of guests is 40 per dinner.
● Local producers and businesses benefit. Whether we buy food supplies, get them at wholesale prices or have them donated, we highlight local food and let the dinner guests know where the food comes from.
● Families benefit as kids and parents have opportunities to participate in community service together. While kids learn a lot from the process,
parents also enjoy the time working with their kids and other families.
● Others in the community also benefit from the opportunity to volunteer. While most of our volunteers are kids and their parents, we have had farm interns, business owners, grandparents and others participate simply because they enjoy the dinners and want to help.
Pam Bliss, Mike DeDianous, Marsha Brezonick, Leslie Livingston, Jill Henwood, Moni Slater