Cooking Matters Conclusion

If you've been following my Cooking Matters series where we introduced the program, explored the problem of child hunger in America and the exciting donation of $1,000 in our names at our local Food Banks from the ConAgra Foods Foundation, then you pretty much rock and thank you for joining me the entire way.  It's been an incredibly humbling and eye-opening experience all around.

After the Cooking Matters bootcamp ended, the bloggers were asked to participate in a Cooking Matters Program in our community.  I had the pleasure of working with the North Texas Food B ank here in Dallas.  I was assigned to volunteer at the Heart House which is an organization that offers child-care assistance to low-income Hispanic families.  Sarah Bensinger was the nutritionist for the class and Jonas Luster served as our volunteer professional Chef.

On the first day of the program, a heavy tone of apprehension seemed to hang in the air about what the program would teach them or the journey they were about to embark on.  But week after week they were introduced to new information and tasks that helped solidify the important ways on how to feed their families.  Through a series of cooking demonstrations, visual methods on showing the negative effects of fast food, a grocery shopping lesson -- these families were able to learn ways of using cost-effective methods while providing healthy meals for their families that were filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and leans meats.

By the last week, you could feel the difference in attitudes amongst the students: they became more engaged, they were laughing and actively participating, they felt excited about using and sharing all the new knowledge they've learned with their friends and family.  As each mother took her final exam and received her certificate of completion of the program, you could tell there was a sense of renewal within all of them.  And none of this would've been possible without the help of volunteers.

(Chef Jonas Luster, who volunteers his time at NTFB also author of FeastCraft)

It's important for all of us to give time back to the community, When my family first moved to America, we were welcomed with open arms from complete strangers who volunteered their time and love to teach and offer us the things we didn't know and have.  Without their help and generosity, our family wouldn't have made it as far as we have today -- and for that I am forever grateful.  That's what makes the World go round -- helping others, especially for those who are less fortunate than you.  Take action and volunteer your time and love to someone today.  For those that are interested in volunteering at North Texas Food Bank you can find more information here.  Also find programs around your area through Share Our Strength or Cooking Matters.

Thank you so much to ConAgra Foods, Share Our Strength, and North Texas Food Bank for the amazing Cooking Matters experience.  Together we can end child hunger, one family at a time!