By Alexis Yap (Class of 2017), Brandy Quach and Jasmine Chen (Class of 2018)
Continuing the gift of sharing from last school year, this fall semester, the school held two sessions of “karma kitchen”—on October 7th and November 22nd. Karma kitchen is the brainchild of Service Space and it is a communal gathering for members to practice paying forward and to revitalize giving and sharing and receiving as a natural way of being. Twice a semester, Developing Virtue Girls School hosts a “karma kitchen” with multicultural culinary choices to practice good will and generosity.
In the first session of Karma Kitchen, the girls were engaged in an activity where they wrote down their goals on paper for the coming year and placed them in a jar labeled “Jar of Hope.” Smiles were present in the concentrated faces of the girls as they wrote down their wishes and aspirations. The room was filled with cozy laughter and a fuzzy warmth. The girls chatted and bonded with one another. After the meal, many girls mentioned that they were very grateful for having the chance to eat dinner together and getting the time to share their stories and jokes. It was a very successful start to the Karma Kitchen chronicles.
As Thanksgiving loomed around the corner, so did Karma Kitchen. The second session was festive and exciting. This time we celebrated karma kitchen for the purpose of thanksgiving in order to really emphasize the importance of giving. Students and teachers gathered for a warm, and delicious dinner of baked vegetables, mash potatoes, pies, bread rolls, and corn soup. During the meal, TED talks and gratitude videos were played to inspire the practice of being thankful in everyday life. The girls were touched by the videos and satisfied with the sumptuous food they had. Karma Kitchen was met with a buzz of excitement, festivity, and thankfulness. In the light of Thanksgiving, the girls got a chance to appreciate the things they have in life, instead of dwelling on the things they do not have. DVGS’s Karma Kitchen serves to spread messages of gratitude and inspiration. (Check out the DVGS Wall of Gratitude.)
Overall, this Karma Kitchen occasion provided the students a chance to bond and give back to the people who are so important to them.
 “Karma Kitchen is an experiment in generosity in the form of a pay-it-forward restaurant—one where there are no prices on the menu, where everyone from the waiter to the dishwasher is a volunteer, and the check at the end of your meal reads $0.00. By serving meals in the spirit of a gift, and inviting guests to contribute from the heart—not for their own meal, but for those who come after, it creates a chain of generosity that keeps on giving. … Guests are welcomed like family and treated to a transformative dining experience by volunteers who are there simply to practice unconditional giving. At Karma Kitchen guests and volunteers alike help create a future that moves us from transaction to trust, from isolation to community, and from fear of scarcity to a celebration of abundance.” https://www.servicespace.org/about/?pg=karmakitchen