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University High School's culinary students meal prep for a cause

University High School Culinary Arts students have served over 17,000 meals to those in need with The Salvation Army in their five-year partnership.
Local high school's culinary students meal prep for a cause
Posted at 6:13 PM, Jan 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-09 19:13:15-05

WACO, Texas — With their five-year partnership with The Salvation Army, University High School Culinary students are gaining real-life experience that will advance their future careers while serving those in need.

With over 17,000 meals prepped during this partnership, these students know the impact they're making in the Central Texas community.


“I want them to have a life skill they can always lean on,” said Practicum Chef of Culinary Arts at University High School, Reannon Ruark.

In a kitchen at University High School in Waco, culinary students learn the art of the industry, while also sharpening their skills in the real world, by partnering with The Salvation Army and feeding those in need.

“We pick up food that’s either been donated or they’ve purchased and we process it, so today, we’re going to be doing a maple-roasted turkey, we’re going to cut all that today, and then tomorrow, we’re going to finish, because tomorrow is the actual service day," Ruark said.

"Tomorrow we’ll do the mashed potatoes and vegetables and things like that then."

Serving more than 17,000 meals, the students involved feel the impact they’re making and know this will help them in their culinary future.

“I already have a job — I cook for a Vietnamese place in Union Hall, and everything that I do there I do here," said culinary arts student, Arturo Jimenez.

"Everything that I got from here, I apply it to there."

“I eventually want to become a culinary chef, whether it be hot foods or pastries — that’s really what I’m going for," said culinary arts student, Dee Ruiz.

"There’s actually a culinary school in Ireland that I’ve been looking at — It’s really a farm, but it’s really cool."

These students are providing service with a passion for the culinary industry and this Waco community.

“Everything you've provided comes from something else, so I feel that if you provide to other people, it’s just a way of giving back," Jimenez said.

"Somebody provides that to you, you provide that to somebody else."

“For people at The Salvation Army, knowing that we’re high school students doing this, I want them to be like 'Wow, these kids are very talented, the kids have something to look forward to, or at least have something going on for their future'," Ruiz said.