For Women’s History Month, KGET, Dignity Health, and Clinica Sierra Vista want to recognize Remarkable Women in our community. Every Tuesday this month we will bring you the story of a woman making a difference in Kern County. First up, we’re introducing you to LaVonne Jarrow, she has been serving her community for almost 21 years.

The Mission at Kern County is a haven for the homeless, the addicted, and the hungry. And in the kitchen at The Mission, they’re not just in the business of feeding bodies, they cook to nourish the soul. “Here at the Mission, I make sure each and every one of our guests here gets a good nutritious meal each and every day,” says Jarrow. “I love cooking. I get to teach other residents in our program, work ethics, how to cook, how to clean. You’d be surprised how many come in here and don’t have that skill.”

Jarrow is the kitchen manager at The Mission and she’s been feeding residents for nearly 21 years. Her kitchen whips up five hundred to six-hundred meals per day. It’s not just her job, it’s literally her mission. “I was once homeless and I was addicted to drugs and then I just decided to change my life. I got tired of going to jail and got sick and tired of being sick and tired.” She entered the program at The Mission when she got out of jail. And she has been there ever since. “It is such a blessing, it means so much, I get to give back to people, what they instilled in me.” On how she encourages residents, she says, “I just tell them, I did it and I’m no different than you so if I can do it you most certainly can do it.”

When she’s not behind the stove, Jarrow is working toward her culinary arts degree at Bakersfield College or serving at her church. “It makes me feel good because I love seeing lives changed.” And in 21 years, she’s surely changed a few. And she’s not done serving up change yet. In fact, it’s her mission to keep cooking until she can’t anymore.

Every Tuesday morning on 17 News at Sunrise we will share the story of one of our four Remarkable Women finalists.

On April 5, we’ll reveal our winner, who will receive $1,000 dollars to the charity of her choice.