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Cornman Farms’ program brings comfort, home-cooked meals to families at Mott Children’s Hospital

‘It’s kind of magical,’ chef Kieron Hales says

DEXTER, Mich. – Zingerman's Cornman Farms is home to a one-of-a-kind charitable and educational program that allows guests to have fun while giving back to their communities.

Cook for a Cause is a group cooking lesson with owner and executive Chef Kieron Hales. Groups prepare a meal for a local charity, usually Michigan Medicine's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

Ann Arbor's Michigan Medicine is one of the largest medical facilities in the region, helping people across the country. Since 1983, Michigan Medicine has had nearly 60,000 patients transported by air for lifesaving care.

Many families with children at Mott Children's Hospital stay at the hospital for long periods of time and Cook for a Cause aims to make their time more comfortable.

"You can imagine having to spend four months at a hospital," said Dr. Richard G. Ohye, head of pediatric heart surgery at Mott. "As a parent, you're basically living at the hospital and to have a real home-cooked meal really means a lot."

"For us, we cook a lot of comfort foods," Hales said. "So, this was an opportunity to make those people feel comfortable in a strange environment where they could be there for a day, a week or even a year at a time."

The program begins with a tour of Cornman Farms followed by a cooking demonstration where guests will learn how to cook a farm-fresh meal. The meals are finished by Cornman staff and delivered to patient's families at Mott.

"With 50 guests, we can feed between 75 and 80 people," Hales said. "It's kind of magical."

About 650 meals have been served to children and their families at Mott Children's Hospital through the program.

"It's been a really active program that has been really helpful for the hospital," Ohye said.

Cornman Farms is aiming to donate 1,000 meals by the end of the year. To assist in this goal, the cost of the program have been cut in half.

"Whether it's a holiday party for work or a family coming to do it, it's a really good opportunity to give back to the community and have a heck of a good time while doing it," Hales said.

For more information on Cook for a Cause or to get involved, visit Zingerman's Cornman Farms' official website here.

More information on Michigan Medicine’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital can be found here.