NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University students in the School of Human Sciences recently met with Christina Balduf and Kinsey Jeffers, representatives from the East Texas Food Bank, to kick off a six-week Cooking Matters program.
During a class presentation, Balduf outlined the food bank’s mission and services as well as discussed hunger insecurities families in the area encounter. The food bank is a nonprofit organization that distributes food to more than 200 partner agencies in an effort to feed children, the working poor and seniors throughout 26 counties in East Texas.
Balduf also provided students an overview of the Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters program, which teaches families at risk of hunger how to get more food for their money and better nourishment.
This is the third year SFA community nutrition classes have partnered with the East Texas Food Bank to provide this program. Justin Pelham, food, nutrition and dietetics clinical instructor at SFA, is using this program as a class project.
“The Cooking Matters program provides real-world experience at the undergraduate level,” Pelham said. “Students are able to showcase their expertise from the nutrition education standpoint in addition to adequate cooking preparation for meals on a budget.”
Students will take on various roles during the program such as marketers, chef instructor, nutrition specialist, grocery shopper and class manager.
“Students enjoy active learning with hands-on programs that extend beyond the general lecture classroom,” Pelham said. “Students can make a community impact and take away personal experiences they can apply toward their résumés and future jobs.”
Cooking Matters classes will begin Oct. 9 and continue each Monday through Nov. 13. Classes will begin at 4 p.m. with a 30-minute nutrition education portion in the Human Sciences Building North, Room 204. The cooking segment will take place from around 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Human Sciences Building North, Room 211.
This year, the program is open to SFA faculty and staff members who could benefit from nutrition education and enhanced cooking skills. Pelham explained the class has partnered with SFA Campus Recreation’s Employee Wellness program so participants can count this program toward their wellness hours.
The program is divided into lessons with the first four classes comprising 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 Cooking Matters, contact Jessica Waguespack, Employee Wellness coordinator, at (936) 468-6056 or firstname.lastname@example.org.