CLEARWATER, Fla. — Two teenage sisters in Clearwater are changing the lives of foster families through the power of home-cooked meals.
Seventeen-year-old Samantha Kopec, and her 15-year-old sister Laura, move around the kitchen in perfect harmony. For the past year and a half, they've been cooking two to three meals a week for their nonprofit organization, Feeding the Fosters.
"Cooking meals that our great grandmother passed down to us, all the way from Italy, so we'll make baked ziti and chicken parm," said Samantha, who is a senior at Tarpon Springs High School.
The Kopec sisters realized foster parents have a lot of responsibilities, so why not give them a break when it comes to dinner.
"To be able to give them more opportunities and time for each child instead of just cooking a meal in the kitchen, so they really have time to sit around the table and talk like a family," said Laura, a sophomore at Palm Harbor University High School.
They currently provide meals to 35 private foster families in their community. Every dish has the same secrete ingredient, love.
"When the foster children come to our door to pick up the meals, and they give us a big hug and ask 'what's for dessert,' I think that's my favorite part," said Samantha.
"If I know we have a meal coming, we can go to the park, or we can go to the zoo, or just spend time as a family doing things that otherwise we may not have time to do because I have to rush home and cook a meal," said foster parent Casey Farmer.
Casanda Boisbert has nine foster children. She is so grateful for the Kopec Family's generosity.
"The work that these girls do is so instrumental in us being successful as foster parents," said Boisbert.
Samantha and Laura have even inspired more than 1,000 volunteers to help cook meals. This year, their efforts were recognized by the National Society of High School Scholars, when they were awarded a $10,000 grant.
"We are working on getting a community kitchen where we can cook together," said Laura.
For more information, go to www.feedingthefostersinc.com.