A native Philadelphian, Linda had a deep awareness of inequality from a very early age and has acted to address this in small and large ways throughout her life. One of her core beliefs is that regardless of income, neighborhood or culture, everyone is entitled to adequate, affordable, and healthy food.
Linda started cooking when she was eight years old and worked as a chef and caterer before spending 25 years in non-profit program development and evaluation. She often comments that these experiences set the stage for the creation of Sunday Suppers. For Linda, it is important that her program incorporates the voices and needs of that community in an environment of mutual respect, inclusiveness, understanding, and equality. Her vision is that program graduates from the community become leaders both within and outside of Sunday Suppers. Linda is passionate, committed, and rigorous in her thinking, yet flexible and responsive in her approach. Plus, she’s a great cook!
In terms of a favorite meal… “Many years ago we made the easiest pickles ever with our families, a first for them as well as myself. They were so simple and in days you had delicious pickles. And for me this was the beginning of what some might say is obsessive canning – pickles, preserves and a family & friend favorite – “cowboy candy”.
Jackie’s passion for family, health and wellness lead her to join the Sunday Suppers’ team in September of 2017. As Program Manager, she is responsible for the coordination and management of all program activities. “I feel very fortunate to serve the community I call my home. As an educator I have learned that it is not about what I can teach families in my community, but what they can teach me. The families and students that I have had the pleasure to work with taught me that what the world might see as their weaknesses are really their strengths. Their loyalty and commitment to one another and to those who support them taught me the true meaning of COMMUNITY.”
“With a busy schedule and a family at home I always look for quick, simple, and affordable recipes when it comes to preparing supper. One recipe my family LOVES is turkey and bean chili. This nutritious meal can be eaten in so many fun ways! You can pour it over greens for an easy “taco” salad, have it with brown rice or even pour it over chips, add cheese and make it “Nacho Night!” What I love about this recipe the most is that you can make extra, freeze it and enjoy a Sunday supper any day of the week.”
Jackie holds a BA of science in Public Health from Temple University, and is enrolled in the Executive Masters in Public Health program at Drexel University.
Mercelyne is originally from Brooklyn. “I come from a background where food has always brought everyone together. Being of Haitian descent, food has been a way for me to stay connected to my culture and introduce others to new foods.” While receiving her degree in Public Health from Temple University, Mercelyne interned with Sunday Suppers and has stayed connected ever since. Of her time with us she says “It was when I found my passion of educating families about healthy foods in ways that are relatable to them. I saw how important it was to build relationships with families while teaching cooking classes. Sunday Suppers feels like home, what better place to educate and build confidence than somewhere people feel comfortable and spend quality time with their families.”
Bianca Perez has been working in social services for over four years and is currently enrolled in the Executive Master of Public Health program at Drexel University. “Sunday Suppers is definitely one of a kind and I am proud I chose a program like it! My favorite meal so far is the baked “fried” chicken tenders, greens, and roasted potatoes. This recipe caters to what families are familiar with in their own homes, just a healthier and just as delicious version. Our families have shown me that knowledge is truly power, but application is just as important, if not more so.”