Patricia Heaton Serves Home-Cooked Meals to Those in Need
By Movieguide® Staff
Former EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and THE MIDDLE star Patricia Heaton recently shared her experience cooking hot meals for South Sudanese refugees who fled to northern Uganda.
Heaton traveled to Africa with the nonprofit organization, World Vision, to offer a warm welcome for those forced to flee their home in Sudan due to war.
“The most people I have ever helped cook for was this past April when I traveled with World Vision to visit the refugee settlements in Uganda,” Heaton wrote in a blog post.
“When new refugees cross the border from South Sudan into northern Uganda, they are first taken by bus to the reception center at Imvepi settlement, where they are registered as refugees and given what for many is the first hot meal they’ve had in a long time,” she continued. “This first hot meal is a massive undertaking! The team there prepares food for hundreds — some days, thousands — of refugees. On the day I visited, there were about 600 people coming through, getting registered, and being served a meal.
“And so my friend and co-star, Jen Ray, and I helped cook for 600 people. People who for the first time had just become refugees, many traveling for days on foot, and arrived with next to nothing at a place they would call home for who knew how long.”
The meal only included two ingredients, maize flour and a type of bean, but Heaton admitted that the process was not simple.
“It was like no cooking I’ve ever done before. But all cooking, all hosting, and all hospitality have certain things in common. Food brings us together, and a meal shared — whether out of celebration or necessity — is always a beautiful occasion,” she maintained. “Cooking for and serving a meal to new refugees may not have been a celebration the way you would expect from a holiday with family, but there was a different kind of feeling there — one of hope. After a long, difficult journey into another country, these refugees had survived and could breathe a sigh of relief because they were now safe. And we were there to welcome them and comfort them with a warm meal.”
Heaton expressed her thankfulness for the opportunity for hospitality and also shared one of her personal recipes from her new cookbook, “Patricia Heaton’s Food for Family and Friends.”
“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to provide a little hospitality to people becoming refugees for the first time. To give them energy and sustenance after their long journey and a warm welcome to a place they will call home for who knows how long,” she said.
She added: “Refugees from South Sudan like the ones I met, and millions more all around the world, flee the places they’ve called home and bring almost nothing with them. Every little bit we can provide means so much to them.”