Carefully measured amounts of black pepper, thyme, bay leaves and parsley are put into Ziploc bags to make spice bags for families attending a Food Bank nutrition education class.
By the time the class is over, families will leave with their spice bags and all the ingredients necessary to make the tasty and healthy recipe they just learned.
The Food Bank’s nutrition education classes are nothing new. Last year, our nutrition educators conducted more than 560 nutrition education classes. However, for the first time, attendees are now given groceries to help them make the recipes at home.
Thanks to the generosity from a donor, our nutrition team has been able to implement this new addition to their adult "Eating Smart, Being Active" classes through May. A total of four class series are receiving groceries.
Our nutrition educators are able to purchase all the ingredients needed for the recipes for all class participants to take home in an insulated grocery bag to keep the food fresh.
Letisia is 78 years old, but she’s as active as an 18 year old. She’s the life of the party, always socializing with her neighbors and dragging her friends out to all the senior community dance parties. Not a single week passes by that she doesn’t go out to dance.
Behind her love for dancing lies a deeper reason why she goes out to dance at least once week. For her, it’s more than just a good time. It’s a way to exercise and stay healthy.
She is a cancer survivor. As a result, she had a kidney removed and needs to maintain a strict diet and exercise regularly.
By combining the nutrition classes, the recipes and the groceries, Letisia has learned how to cook nutritious meals to maintain her health.
“The program you have helps me 100 percent. This program is life and health for seniors and everybody. The way the program has taught me to eat I would’ve had to pay, but this program is free. I have so many things to be grateful for with this program. This program is going to give me 10 more years of life,” Letisia said.
In addition to the recipe ingredients, individuals receive organic fresh produce straight from our garden to take home. The fresh produce varies from week to week and allows families to taste produce they might not be familiar with or are not able to afford, like red carrots, beets and mustard greens.
For Maria, who is on a fixed income, it can be tough to get by. She relies on the Food Bank’s nearby Partner Agency for help and the additional food provided in class helps her make it through the month when she doesn’t even have $5 left to spend for the entire month.
“The food provided is healthy and nutritious. We use it to make healthy food. When it comes to vegetables everything is good, especially carrots. I love carrots, everything green,” Maria said.