By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer
Baylor FastBacc nursing students went outside of the requirements for their community clinical to create a cookbook for a group of women in a homeless shelter.
Fort Worth FastBacc nursing student and class president Cassidy Cope said that one of her clinical rotations was at Austin Street Center, a homeless shelter in Dallas.
“My clinical group was just unlike any other group I’ve worked with in my life,” Cope said.
Cope also said that from the beginning, the team of 10 students and one instructor clicked automatically, making the entire cookbook project easier to develop since everyone had a role and worked hard to create it.
According to Shelby DeVreeze, professor and instructor for the community clinical, the clinical began in October 2021. Just a few weeks into their clinical sessions, the group decided to create a cookbook for The Sisterhood, a group of women within the homeless shelter that had a history of abusive pasts and traumas.
Cope said that during the clinical, the group was looking for meaningful ways to serve and fell in love with that community of women.
“It’s a very special building, that Sisterhood building, because it is their safe place and they have all bonded over their unique struggles in a really beautiful way,” Cope said.
The women in The Sisterhood are working through a program to regain independence and confidence. According to Cope, the women were very vulnerable with one another and receptive to the members of the clinical group. Cope said that after awhile, the nursing students found their place with the women and got to bond with them in more meaningful ways.
“We kind of just like really loved spending time with those ladies,” DeVreeze said. “So we devoted a little more of our time there.”
DeVreeze said that after spending more time with the women in the shelter, they realized they did not have much knowledge on the costs and health of cooking, so they decided to create a cookbook with recipes and information for them.
“This was not a requirement,” DeVreeze said. “This was something we totally took on our own.”
According to Cope, at the beginning of the project, students talked with the women about the types of meals they loved when they were growing up, and they took off from there to begin working on the cookbook. She said everyone in the group began to brainstorm together.
“Everybody’s voices were being heard and contributing,” Cope said. “It was truly collaboration at its finest, and I really do believe it’s because the Lord wanted us to do this.”
The cookbook’s contents include an example of a weekly meal plan with a grocery list, pantry basics, common measurements and recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts. All of these come with finance calculations so the women can see how much everything is worth.
According to Cope, the Louise Herrington School of Nursing is currently in possession of the cookbook. DeVreeze said those who are interested can reach out to faculty members to check it out.
“It’s hard to describe the fullness that you feel when you know that you’ve answered God — like when you’ve done what He’s asking you to do and you’ve used the skills He’s given you to bless other people,” Cope said.