Kinsey Jeffers

Kinsey Jeffers, nutrition education programs manager for the East Texas Food Bank, recently met with Stephen F. Austin State University students in the School of Human Sciences to kick off a six-week Cooking Matters program. Cooking Matters classes will begin Oct. 8 and continue each Monday through Nov. 12.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Representatives from the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler recently visited Stephen F. Austin State University to kick off a six-week Cooking Matters program in Nacogdoches.

This is the fourth year SFA’s School of Human Sciences has partnered with the food bank to provide this informative and interactive program to the community. Justin Pelham, food, nutrition and dietetics clinical instructor at SFA, is using this program as a class project to provide an opportunity for students to showcase their skills in a real-world setting.

“My intention for the SFA community nutrition course is providing real-world application to our students by plugging them in to relevant outreach events in East Texas,” Pelham said. “These opportunities enhance each student’s learning experience while working with underserved populations in our community, thus making a significant impact in the student’s lives well past their undergraduate years at SFA.”

Kinsey Jeffers, food bank nutrition education programs manager, and Brandi Gouldthorpe, SFA alumna and nutrition education specialist, met with a group of SFA students to outline the food bank’s mission and services, as well as discuss hunger insecurities families in the area may 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 senior citizens throughout 26 counties in East Texas.

Jeffers and Gouldthorpe also provided students with 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.

“The East Texas Food Bank has and continues to be a crucial organization providing our community nutrition students more hands-on learning and outreach in Nacogdoches,” Pelham said. “Students will be showcasing their leadership capacity among various target populations and practicing their communication skills with the public.”

Cooking Matters classes will begin Oct. 8 and continue each Monday through Nov. 12. Classes will begin at 4 p.m. with a 30-minute nutrition education segment in the Human Sciences North Building, Room 102 on the SFA campus. The cooking segment will take place from approximately 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Human Sciences North Building, Room 211.

This year, the program is open to the Nacogdoches community, specifically those connected with the Helping Other People Eat organization.

The program is divided into lessons with the first four classes comprising 30-minute 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.

Additionally, the East Texas Food Bank also is piloting an afterschool curriculum with the Nacogdoches Boys and Girls Club. Five SFA students each week not assigned to the Cooking Matters program will assist Gouldthorpe with various nutrition and physical activities. The program will coincide with the Cooking Matters program.

To sign up for Cooking Matters, contact Pelham at (936) 468-5892 or