In August 2009, the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) decided to give back to the community with a joint charity project, "Making a Difference." With the recession taking an especially hard hit on Connecticut, our member attorneys recognized and acted on the needs of the community.
The CBA Young Lawyers Section (YLS) had planned its year-long YLS Soup Kitchen Project, in which members of the section decided to volunteer at local soup kitchens and shelters throughout the state. In conjunction with this, the CBA decided to produce an organization-wide charity cookbook, From Court to Cuisine, from which proceeds would be donated to the three key soup kitchens at the end of the bar year in June 2010. Together, the YLS Soup Kitchen Project and From Court to Cuisine addressed an important issue -hunger - and demonstrated to the community the good will and giving nature of lawyers.
Through the YLS Soup Kitchen Project, volunteers visited the soup kitchens in three key cities in the state (Hartford, New Haven and Norwalk) once a month. Activities included making meals, interacting with shelter and soup kitchen visitors, donating food and cleaning. The soup kitchens were extremely appreciative for the resources that YLS offered. In the end, each soup kitchen received upwards of $2,500 in resources from the CBA.
From August through December 2009, CBA staff members worked tirelessly to realize From Court to Cuisine. Among the biggest challenges was the need to keep production costs low. As a nonprofit organization itself, the CBA was faced with budget constraints to execute such a project successfully, yet grasped how fittingly the cookbook complemented the YLS Soup Kitchen Project. A submission request was opened to the entire CBA membership and CBA staff, and more than 200 recipes were received. The CBA's marketing department, along with the help of then-immediate past president Livia DeFilippis Barndollar, then chose 92 recipes, and worked to design, edit, print, produce and advertise the cookbook. Costs of the project were kept minimal, under $1,000, and thereby allowed each soup kitchen to receive a $199 donation.