That's How She Rolls: Mary Knight and Food for the Soul!
Updated: Feb 21
For 125 years, the Community of the Transfiguration has been fostering a sustainable future for our community. Food for the Soul is the latest initiative of partners with food access and recovery agencies that provide meals and dignified shopping experiences to those who need it most.
Mary Knight began cooking up the idea Food for the Soul during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. “The retreat center shut down, the staff was approaching layoff, but there was important work to be done. I received permission to keep the staff on through the end of the fiscal year and after creative cross training the staff was ready for a new challenge!”
Today Mary serves as the Director of Food for the Soul. Mary has worked for the Community of the Transfiguration for over 12 years and has over 20 years of experience in Senior Marketing and Program Management. Family life is everything to Mary, She feel her greatest accomplishment in life are her three sons, Kevin, Rachon and Aaron and the added bonus of grandchildren.
Mary feels her enthusiasm for fresh, homemade tasty food combined with her passion for service and her childhood upbringing with the current growth and success of FFTS.
In the first year, Food for the Soul rescued and prepared about 63,000 pounds of food. In 2022, that jumped to 109,000 pounds which served more than 50,000 visitors, and that number is expected to increase this year.
To ensure that the people served receive consistent and compassionate support, Mary was able to hire a team. “We have 4 full time and 1 part time FFTS staff, supported by fundraising and the generosity of the Sisters of the Transfiguration. We are a team, at any point you might cook, process, pick up, or deliver- we do this together.”
Volunteers are welcome too and are better able to serve the community thanks to the organization’s staff. Volunteer experiences are tailored to the individual’s needs; Mary works with each volunteer to put their skills and abilities to good use. “Our Self-Select Pantries are a popular volunteer opportunity. We need at least 6 volunteers to make sure we meet the needs of the community while delivering the dignity our clients deserve.”
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors began to lose access to critical community support. Mary and her team took to the kitchen to prepare meals and set up monthly outdoor shopping opportunities for seniors. Today those meals are provided twice a week at several popular community hubs in the Lincoln Heights area.
What’s next for Food for the Soul? A permanent home. As the Retreat Center comes back online, Food for the Soul is searching for a kitchen that will allow them to grow and serve more of the people.
If you’d like to learn more or support Food for the Soul visit: https://www.ctsisters.org/food-for-the-soul.
What does Mary like to cook?
Soul Roll Recipe INGREDIENTS:
1 Bag of slaw/cabbage mix
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Pk. Dry Onion Soup Mix
One package of egg roll wrappers
Franks Sweet Chili Sauce
In a large skillet, add the ground beef, cook the meat, stirring occasionally until brown. Once the beef is brown, remove it from the heat, drain, and set it aside.
In the same skillet with the cooked beef, add soup onion soup mix and stir to mix, add slaw (about 8 oz), then add the cheese and mix all together.
Once the mixture has cooled, add two heaping tablespoons of the mixture to each egg roll wrapper.
Roll the egg rolls (instructions on the back of the egg roll wrapper package) and seal them. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the oil to medium heat. Fry the egg rolls for 1-2 minutes or until brown making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
Once the egg rolls are brown, remove them from the pan and place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Serve them with Frank’s Sweet Chili Hot Sauce for dipping.