AUBURN – In less than a decade, Good Shepherd Food Bank’s Cooking Matters programming reached more than 30,000 Maine-based participants.
Cooking Matters Maine provides hands-on cooking and nutrition classes, as well as grocery store tours, throughout the state, led by volunteer professional chefs and nutritionists. The courses last six weeks and at each class, participants receive a bag of groceries and recipes to try at home. The tours provide strategies to extend limited food budgets while shopping for healthy, affordable foods.
“It takes a lot of support and teamwork to make Cooking Matters a success,” said Courtney Kennedy, nutrition and education manager for Good Shepherd Food Bank, which operates Cooking Matters in Maine. “A major highlight for this year was a strategic focus on working with childcare providers statewide. Cooking Matters was able to provide ways that in-home and center-based childcare providers can prepare healthy, affordable meals for kids in their care.”
From July 2018 to July 2019, Cooking Matters Maine held 276 courses and saw a 93 percent graduation rate. This represents tremendous growth from when the program started in 2011 when the food bank worked with partners to offer 22 Cooking Matters courses to 344 participants. As the program continues to build partnerships that support Good Shepherd Food Bank’s work to reach families in Maine with valuable nutrition and food skills education, the success can only continue to grow. Currently, courses are taught through several partnerships including Maine SNAP-Ed, Cooperative Extension EFNEP programs and Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0. The programming is made possible due to the generous support of Hannaford Supermarkets.
If interested in participating in Cooking Matters or learning more about hosting a Cooking Matters course in your area, please contact Courtney Kennedy, nutrition and education manager at Good Shepherd Food Bank at email@example.com or 207-782-3554.