Cost is the largest barrier for low-income families to access healthy food. Alongside the No Kid Hungry campaign, Cooking Matters Colorado is committed to helping the 1 in 6 CO Kids at risk of hunger gain access to healthy food by teaching families lasting nutrition budgeting skills and helping them maximize their food resources.
Founded in 1993, Cooking Matters nationally has served more than 265,000 families. Cooking Matters Colorado has been providing crucial nutrition education skills to families throughout the state since the early 90's reaching over 100,000 families.
Cooking Matters programs include:
* Hands-On, Six-Week Courses
Community partners that serve low-income families offer six-week courses to adults, kids and families. Each course is team-taught by a volunteer chef and nutrition educator and covers meal preparation, grocery shopping, food budgeting and nutrition. Adult and teen participants take home a bag of groceries at the end of each class.
* Interactive Grocery Store Tours
Cooking Matters at the Store tours provide families with hands-on education as they shop for food, giving them skills to compare foods for cost and nutrition. Participants learn how to plan and budget for healthy, affordable, and delicious meals for their families.
* Childcare Professionals Trainings teach caregivers of young children healthy meal preparation, food safety and how to help children try new foods. Participants learn to create a positive food environment for the kids in their care.
* Educational Tools
Free toolkits, kids' handouts and recipes are available at CookingMatters.org and in the Cooking Matters smartphone app.
No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in six children nationally, and here in Colorado, struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. In Colorado, the Cooking Matters program empowers families with the skills needed to shop for and cook nutritious, affordable meals.
Getting up each morning and caring for three children is a lot of work for anyone, but for Gloria, a single mom of three, it is especially challenging due to chronic pain. Nearly, four years ago, after giving birth to her third child, Gloria experienced severe stomach pain. After seeking medical care and being misdiagnosed several times, Gloria was hospitalized due to a massive abdominal blood clot - she spent three months in the hospital, and was unable to walk for five months. With ongoing rehabilitation, however, Gloria went from using a walker to crutches; today, she's walking independently again.
With four mouths to feed, Gloria found affording food to be a struggle - even with her Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. So, she decided to enroll in a Cooking Matters course and was joined by her eldest daughter, Elle and her Aunt. Together, they are changing their household from a food insecure environment to one that thinks outside of the box, discovering new, healthy and cost saving recipes.
As a former middle school teacher, Gloria understands the importance of education and including children in the kitchen. "I love to cook and find most kids love to cook, as well," she says. Inspired by Cooking Matters, Gloria involves her children in decisions about the foods they cook, and finds that foods no longer seem foreign to them. Now, her kids are willing to try different dishes, and they no longer think of food and cooking as boring and mundane. She is stretching her limited food dollars too, a win-win for the physical and financial health of Gloria and her family.