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Recipe of creativity, concern, and caring

Cool Kid Cristina Tarankow
December 6, 2007 12:00:00 AM PST
Despite a painful condition of her own, this week's Cool Kid takes the time to help the less fortunate. She uses her own love of food to fill stomachs and hearts.Cristina Tarankow is a Cool Kid who has a love of food. She is an aspiring chef and volunteers at the St. Vincent Meals on Wheels.

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"I get there at eight o'clock in the morning, and I work on the line -- which we prepare everything and put it into the trays. And then we send it out to the cars, and then from the cars, the vans, we deliver it to the houses," said Cristina.

She loves taking the time to make each meal unique.

"It's really great to help out so many people, and it's not just, you know, slop it on the tray," said Cristina. "You actually care about the person, and try to help them, and feeding them what they can have, and have them enjoy what they can eat."

When Cristina brings the meals, she includes an extra special ingredient.

"We appreciate all that Cristina does, and the clients I know appreciate seeing her smiling face when she delivers their meal," said St. Vincent Meals on Wheels director Sister Alice Marie.

The irony is that while Cristina loves creating the food, she suffers from Crohn's disease, a painful condition affecting her digestive system. As the teen ambassador of the IBD Support Foundation, she helps youngsters cope with their shared situation.

"I think it really helps them out to know that, again, 'I'm not alone. There's somebody else out there,'" said Cristina. "And you know, it's okay to share your feelings, and as awkward as the symptoms might be, you know, it's natural. There's nothing wrong about it, and you shouldn't feel like an outcast."

Even as she helps others, Cristina finds something for herself to enjoy.

"It really makes me feel so much better to know that I made someone's day a lot better," said Cristina.

With a recipe of creativity, concern, and care, she is our Cool Kid.

Know a deserving young adult who should be one of the ABC7 Cool Kids? Share their story and nominate someone today.


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