NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University students in the School of Human Sciences met with Angie Shoffner, nutrition education specialist for the East Texas Food Bank, Monday to kick off a six-week program and class project, Cooking Matters.
Since 1993, Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters staff members and volunteers have helped more than 265,000 low-income families in communities around the country learn how to eat on a budget, according to cookingmatters.org. Through the Cooking Matters program, participants learn how to cook healthy meals, read nutrition labels, shop on a budget and more.
“This program is essentially teaching people how to eat healthy on a budget,” Shoffner said. “It’s our mission to empower low-income families and individuals with the necessary tools to maintain a healthy diet on a limited budget.”
Justin Pelham, food, nutrition and dietetics clinical instructor at SFA, is using the Cooking Matters program as a class project for students enrolled in HMS 409: Community Nutrition.
“The Cooking Matters program provides students real-world application beyond the textbook,” Pelham said. “They learn management logistics, market a program, partner with community agencies for outreach, collaborate for a professional event and perform educator roles that correlate with their major.”
During the program, students will take on a different role each week, including marketer, chef instructor, grocery shopper, nutrition instructor and class manager.
Cooking Matters classes will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. each Monday beginning Oct. 10 through Nov. 14 in the Human Sciences North Building, Room 211. The class is free and open to the public, but space is limited to 20 individuals who are 18 and older.
The class is divided into different lessons. The first four lessons consist of one-hour lectures and an hour of cooking. SFA students will purchase the needed groceries, and participants will be able to take the food home after the demonstration. The fifth lesson will be at a local grocery story and include games, food comparisons, a budgeting exercise and more. The final lesson is a celebration and potluck.
To sign up for the class or for more information, contact Pelham at (936) 468-5892 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.