Have you been looking for volunteer opportunities? Sometimes it's hard to find something that resonates with you as a person. Something that speaks to you and feels right in your soul.
Most of us are looking for ways to give back to our communities and be part of something bigger than us. To be part of something that makes the world a better place.
For those of us who love food, cooking, and all things related, we are also aware that there is a cruel disparity in the world. While some have plenty, so that all things food related is enjoyment, others don't have enough nutritious food to eat for basic good health. Thinking about it physically hurts my heart.
So when I learned about a program called Cooking Matters, I wanted to learn more.
At the end of June, I attended a food blogger event where we learned about how the program works. I had planned to write about it much sooner, but well, you know how it goes.
Cooking Matters is part of the national Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry programs working to end child hunger in the United States by 2015. In this country, 18.6 million children receive SNAP benefits (formerly called food stamps). SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 46 million people in the United States are fed by SNAP each month, even as the program always seems to be under the threat of budget cuts.
So while Cooking Matters is national, it operates at a local level and I attended the event for Cooking Matters Massachusetts. Below is information about the program from their website.
"Cooking Matters is a non-profit organization that teaches nutrition education and hands-on cooking skills to low-income families. We also incorporate food safety and how to shop healthfully on a budget through six curricula that are tailored to meet the needs of kids, teens and adults. We teach classes in Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Chelsea, Cambridge, Quincy, Plymouth, Fitchburg, Framingham, Worcester, Marlborough, and Cape Cod, and are currently adding more sites."At the event, there were several food bloggers, including myself, who experienced what one of the Cooking Matters classes would be like for participants in the program. We received recipes and were shown how to make the meal. The ingredients are chosen so that they will fit within a budget for someone who is receiving SNAP benefits.
The program is six weeks and participants receive the food to make the meal after each class. From what I learned, taking the class makes a big difference and changes lives.
When we really think about what it means to be able to cook for ourselves and our families, it's quite empowering and a joyful, nurturing, loving thing to do. I love to cook and know the feelings.
Cooking Matters needs volunteers, so if you're in Massachusetts and want to learn more, take a look here. Donations are welcome too!
Disclaimer: Thank you to Cooking Matters Massachusetts for the gift bag received at the end of the class.
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