Three Generations of Volunteers Promote Vegetarianism in Chicago

Midwest  |  October 26, 2020
Volunteers from Tzu Chi USA Midwest Region’s Chicago office promote the benefits of eating vegetarian meals with an online program of cooking classes.

Written by Yue Ma
Translated by Penny Liu
Edited by Ida Eva Zielinska

Volunteers from Tzu Chi USA Midwest Region’s Chicago office recently created an online vegetarian cooking class program in English and Chinese for people of all ages! The monthly schedule included five sessions: Four in Chinese, one per Sunday, and an English class offered at the end of the month.

What made their initiative extra special was that many Tzu Chi Collegiate Association (TCCA) members and Tzu Chi Young Group members also participated in the online teaching sessions, making this a three-generation collaboration on promoting vegetarianism.

The veggie chefs of all ages demonstrate how to prepare various dishes and show off the final results. Photos / Yue Ma, Janice Chen

Many people who have busy schedules at work or school assume that following a vegetarian diet will be difficult. However, the volunteers shared simple and delicious recipes that are easy to follow and make, helping those attending the online classes put aside some of their fears.

For Dennis Lee, one of the cooks, and a student himself, the fact that the recipes weren’t complicated was a plus.

I know a lot of people might think it’s hard to cook vegetarian and make simple dishes, but I think today’s dishes were quite simple, and since we designed it more for college students, or even high school students, it’s a lot easier and more accessible for them to try out new vegetarian dishes. And I really hope in the future we have more of these classes and we can learn even more.

High school students also care about vegetarianism, as we can see by their interest in following the online vegetarian cooking classes. Photo / Yifang Lin

Jaime Ragos, a young class participant, also felt that the choice of recipes and teaching method worked well and liked it very much. 

I really appreciated cooking with everyone, having that small little sense of community; even though we’re apart, we can come together virtually. I also appreciated learning more about vegetarianism.

Volunteers joyfully participate in one of the online vegetarian cooking classes. Photo / Yue Ma

At this challenging time, with the COVID-19 pandemic casting a shadow over our lives, offering mutual support and finding ways to bring cheer is also important. These volunteers found a way to draw people together while promoting vegetarianism and its wide-ranging benefits for our health, animal rights, as well as environmental protection.

Join hands with Tzu Chi USA by supporting our Together While Apart campaign, through which our volunteers are providing distributions of personal protective equipment, food, and more, and offering a listening ear to everyone they serve, with care.

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