There are 54 million Americans living with a disability in this very moment. That number constitutes the country’s largest minority, and yet there seems to be little consideration for their needs in the kitchen.
Which is exactly why a group of student volunteers from Montana’s Highlands College in Butte are doing their part to service this need by building a brand new, American Disabilities Act-compliant kitchen from the ground-up. As the Montana Standard reports, these students teamed up with the Silver Bow Developmental Disabilities Council (an organization that provides services to disabled community members) to transform a unused and worn-down handball court into a gleaming “dream kitchen” for people with disabilities, providing easy and safe access to sinks, cabinets, counter tops and appliance.
After two years of building a kitchen from scratch, the project, called the Nutrition Education Station, is nearing completion. The aim of the Nutrition Education Station is to build a “teaching style kitchen for people with disabilities,” the Standard writes. Once finished, the space will be open to any organization that serves the disabled, allowing instructors to teach nutrition and cooking classes.
Bill Ryan, Chair of the Trades & Technical Department at Highlands College, told Montana Tech there is a growing need for spaces like this in the community.
“The number of people who are disabled and aging who choose to be self-sufficient and stay in their own homes is growing,” Ryan said. “This project was excellent for our students as they not only got to learn about the technical requirements for making a kitchen accessible to the disabled, they also got to work on a project which will directly help their own community.”