Chef Shine & The Sandbox
Building Relationships That Last
By Mara Campolungo, Co-Founder And Executive Director of The Sandbox and Founder of Ordinary Angels
During this past year—the year of the global COVID-19 crisis—when much of the world had to take a step (or six) away from normal activities, family, and friends, we knew we had to lean in. Because of life-altering diagnoses, families who play in The Sandbox have to be ultra careful during a pandemic. Many of them must stay home a majority of the time to protect loved ones whose immune systems are fragile.
As one strategy to combat the isolation, The Sandbox formed several new, light-hearted partnerships to meet some of the needs of our families as they sheltered in place.
We soon discovered: These partnerships not only benefited the families but also our new partners. As we hosted Facebook live events and invited guests to post in our private groups, our new partners were introduced to the most amazing people—those in our community whom they may never have had the opportunity to meet if it weren’t for this virus.
I sat down with one of our collaborators, Chef Shine, to talk about our partnership. Chef Shine offers personal chef services and virtual cooking “experiences.” More than simple classes, Chef uses these experiences to help others discover new dishes or skills, all while having fun. And fun is what we all need right now!
Chef Shine provided virtual cooking classes for our families. I asked him how his continued relationship with the Sandbox and its families unfolded and what he gained from the initial experience. Here is a portion of our chat:
- The Sandbox: What did you most enjoy about partnering with The Sandbox in 2020?
- Chef Shine: I realized that something I thought was so small and so easy to do (hosting cooking sessions for the group) had such a large and pervasive impact on our families. I say “our” because I am now so invested in the organization and its mission that I joined the Leadership Board.
- The Sandbox: Have there been any “aha moments” or families who inspired you or moved you deeply?
- Chef Shine: There is one specific family—parents who lost a child—that brought everything home for me in an accelerated way. Their perseverance through their grief hit me hard. We often don’t realize how something we do, which to us seems so insignificant (like cooking), can impact others . . . can be a blessing to a family. Just being a part of The Sandbox is a beautiful thing.
In my discussion with Chef Shine, I learned he was raised to serve others, to be “the hands and feet” to those who need support or encouragement.
- Chef Shine: It’s ingrained in every fiber of my being. Serving others is my first love and a way of life.
Chef Shine reminds us that we all have gifts and talents to give. Most of the time, we don’t realize how our skills, time, resources, or passions can be blessings to those who are craving connection, support, or encouragement. As Chef’s motto in cooking and in life goes,
“There’s No Secret Ingredient Except the LOVE That You Put Into It!”
We live in a world filled with people who are hurting, feeling lost, battling anxiety or depression, and who have been forced to isolate. We can offer those individuals more than we realize. In addition to the treasures of our time and talents, we can offer hope and fellowship.
We HOPE our conversation with Chef Shine inspired you to reach out to an individual or group that has been on your heart. You have gifts others are waiting to unwrap: expertise, passions, friendship, understanding, and more.
Don’t make the mistake of believing your gift is small or insignificant. Rather, partner with us (or others) and BELIEVE in the power of connection.
Chef also has an online Cookie Company (loversfreshbaked.com) offering local delivery and nationwide shipping.