Cooking has been a lifelong passion of mine. I am now lucky enough to be an AmeriCorps VISTA at Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters Colorado. Cooking Matters teaches families how to shop, prepare, and cook healthy meals on a limited budget. Teaching people to cook is an empowering experience. Not only are you giving people skills to live healthier lives, you connect with families, parents, and kids, in a special way.
My year as a VISTA has primarily been spent out of the classroom, working on development, but I hear about great experiences from my coworkers about course participants and the impact they have made on their lives.
Chef working with students to prepare healthy meal Wolsborn and Cooking Matters Colorado are helping families to continue cooking healthy meals at home even if they have a limited budget.
I get to hear stories and see pictures of the connection that food and cooking can make between drastically different people. From these stories, I am able to write powerful grants and potentially fund this important work. Nutrition and cooking education plays a vital role in anti-hunger work. It empowers families with the skills and tools to take their health into their own hands.
Through my VISTA year, I have worked to help expand our program in Colorado and integrate federal nutrition program outreach, such as summer meals and SNAP (formerly food stamps), into our existing Cooking Matters programs. I have seen firsthand the importance of food access and food quality. Many of the families we work with are living in extreme poverty, yet are struggling with obesity, including their children. We are working to break this cycle in Colorado by eliminating barriers to access and opening families up to healthy and affordable eating.