Gleaners Community Food Bank (Gleaners) will be able to reach more than 6,000 adults and youths through cooking classes and other nutrition education programs thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Campbell Soup Foundation as part of the foundation’s Campbell’s Healthy Communities program. The program includes two components (Cooking Matters™ courses and Heart Smarts lessons) with a goal of improving food security and healthy eating.
Gleaners’ nutrition education programs have helped thousands of participants a year such as John Hittle of Lake Orion. Since taking a healthy cooking class coordinated by Gleaners three years ago, he’s lost 70 pounds. “I noticed a difference as I exercised and lost weight. It was not fast, it was no trick diet, no fad diet,” just the tips and skills he learned. More importantly, he was able to take himself off prescription drugs such as Metformin for his blood sugar. “I feel better now than I did when I was 21,” says John, who is 71.
The nutrition education programs also help children in need access the healthy nutrition they require to grow and thrive. In Southeast Michigan, nearly 300,000 students receive free or reduced-price school lunches and 25 percent live in poverty.
- Objectives and activities for Gleaners’ Campbell’s Healthy Communities nutrition education project are to:
- Educate up to 40 parents/caregivers and 75 school-aged southeast Michigan children and teens on how to select nutritious, low-cost ingredients and prepare them in ways that provide the best nourishment possible through Cooking Matters courses.
- Teach 30 kindergarten and first-graders about food and healthy eating through two Exploring Food Together programs at Ferndale Lower Elementary School.
- Share and taste recipes, and Heart Smarts lessons with 100 people a month across five southeast Michigan mobile food pantries.
- Monthly Heart Smarts lessons will be rotated among a pool of 14 community and school-based mobiles, reaching up to 6,000 people a year with a combination of nutrition lessons, recipes, tastings and messaging.
Cooking Matters™ is a groundbreaking nutrition-education program that connects low-income individuals and families with food by teaching them how to prepare healthy meals on a limited budget. Professional chefs and nutritionists volunteer their time and expertise to lead hands-on courses showing adults, teens and children how to purchase and prepare nutritious foods in healthful, safe and tasty ways.
Heart Smarts lessons and recipe tastings take place at school-based and community-based mobile food pantries across southeast Michigan and the Red Truck produce market in Detroit. Through these courses, lessons and exposure to nutrition messages, participants are empowered with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make healthy, affordable snacks and meals.
About Campbell Healthy Communities
The Campbell Healthy Communities program is designed with a collective impact framework, recognizing that a single organization cannot change a major social issue. Campbell Healthy Communities embraces an inclusive approach with a common agenda, shared measurement systems, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communications and a backbone organization. We are focused on increasing equity and improving outcomes, holding systems accountable for reducing disparities, and continually assessing for equity. For more information, visit www.campbellsoupcompany.com.
About Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan
Headquartered in Detroit, Gleaners operates five distribution centers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties and provides food to 499 partner soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and other agencies throughout southeastern Michigan. In 2017, Gleaners distributed more than 42 million pounds of food to neighbors in need! On average, Gleaners distributes the equivalent of 96,178 meals each day and provides nourishing food and nutrition education to 171,000 children a year. Every dollar donated provides three meals and 97 cents of every donated dollar goes to food and food programs. For more information, visit www.gcfb.org.
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