Bringing Community into the (Moose Jaw) Kitchen

Moose Jaw's Community Kitchens Program, supported in part through a grant from the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF), is helping this community's most vulnerable children and families learn the basics of nutrition and healthy eating, food preparation, and safe food storage.

Delivered by Hunger in Moose Jaw, Inc., the Community Kitchens Program provides weekly food preparation classes, mostly to young single mothers (ages 18-30) and youth (ages 9-12), that cover the basics of cooking and healthy eating. Participants are charged a nominal fee to enroll—but only if they are able to pay—and are provided free transportation and babysitting while attending, as needed.

"Many of those who come to our classes have never had the luxury—or even the opportunity—to learn from or help their parents prepare meals. These folk are unsure of how to make chicken soup or even prepare a green salad." says Carol Acton, executive director of Hunger in Moose Jaw, Inc.. "And learning how to store food, like how long to refrigerate spaghetti sauce as an example, is also crucial to know when one is managing food."

Those participating learn to prepare nutritious and well-balanced meals that generally include protein, vegetables, a salad and dessert. The desserts may be smoothies and fruit salads that are delicious, nutritious, and not typically sweet! Weekly classes run from six to eight weeks, depending on seasonal holidays, and on the last day of class, participants are invited to prepare an entire meal for their families and take their personalized cookbook of basic nutritious recipes home with them.

"They also have a lot of fun while they learn!" says Acton. "These weekly skill-building sessions promote both socialization and self-sufficiency among participants. Overall, without the CIF grant we could not have adequately run this great program!"



L:  Kirsten Matthies, Moose Jaw's Community Kitchen Program coordinator with Hunger in Moose Jaw, Inc..  R:  Carl Francis, Community Kitchen Program participant.  (Photo credit:  Hunger in Moose Jaw, Inc.)

Posted in CIF News