Emily Bradford, an 8th grader at Bath Middle School, chops vegetables as part of a cooking class at Midcoast Youth Center in August. The center plans to use the money from its current fundraiser to help pay for newer kitchen equipment. Courtesy / Jamie Dorr

BATH — With Midcoast Youth Center less than $2,000 away from its latest fundraising goal, Director Jamie Dorr couldn’t be happier.

“It’s really been pretty incredible to see,” she said.

The center’s 15to30 campaign aims to raise $15,000 in November and December. If the center reaches that goal, an anonymous donor has already pledged to match those funds with another $15,000. As of Dec. 1, Dorr said, the campaign has raised more than $13,000.

The center, formally known as the Midcoast Community Alliance and the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark, became  Midcoast Youth Center in October, just before starting the fundraising campaign. Dorr said normally she would have run two in-person campaigns at this time, but due to the pandemic that hasn’t been possible. With the 15to30 campaign, she said, people can donate online, and the new donations are making up the difference.

“It helps to stabilize the normal amount of funds we would have raised through those two events,” she said.

Dorr said the fundraiser will cover some of the center’s general operating costs, but she also hopes to use some of the new funds to pay for safety equipment, such as a fire suppression system and oven hood, so she can install upgraded kitchen equipment. The kitchen, in addition to preparing meals for the students, also serves as what Dorr calls a “teaching kitchen,” which offers classes to students as part of the center’s after-school programming.

Right now, the center has a small kitchen with plug-in appliances such as a blender, hot plate and microwave, but donors have contributed cabinets and countertops, along with appliances such as a wall oven and dishwasher. Dorr said she even has contractors standing by who have volunteered their time to install everything, as soon as she’s installed the new safety equipment.

“We’re just trying to put all the pieces together into the teaching kitchen,” she said.

The center offers programs and meals for local homeless teenagers, along with classes and after-school programs for area youths, such as the cooking and nutrition classes. Donna Verhoeven, the center’s youth outreach coordinator, said she ran the cooking class she over the summer and the classes were very popular with the kids.

“Anytime you involve kids with food, it’s a win-win,” she said.

The classes, Verhoeven said, teach simple cooking skills, along with nutrition, so kids can learn how to develop healthier eating habits.

“They were pretty excited that they could duplicate these recipes at home,” she said.

Emma Kennedy, 13, and Alissa Cogswell, 12, each took the class over the summer.

“It was so much fun,” Kennedy said, adding she liked learning how to make stir-fry and pizza bagels.

Cogswell said she learned to make sandwiches, including cutting up fresh vegetables. She said she helps her family out every year at Thanksgiving, and wants to learn more cooking skills, Both girls have signed up for the new class, which starts this week and will run through next spring. Dorr said it takes so long because there are 42 kids signed up, and the classes only work with five students at a time due to the pandemic.

When asked what she wants to learn how to make next, Cogswell said, “An actually good-tasting pizza,” complete with dough from scratch.

Sean Murphy 780-9094

Email: [email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.