“Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for life,” or so goes the old idiom.
Over the past 20 years, the nonprofit organization Cooking Matters Colorado has been putting that phrase into practice. “There is a need for hunger [relief programs], but we’re meeting the need from a direct education standpoint,” says Heather Crandall, the organization’s community engagement coordinator. “We’re giving people skills.”
Since 1994, Cooking Matters Colorado has been teaching families on a budget healthy cooking and shopping skills. They provide direct education to parents and caregivers of kids ages 0-5 and increase awareness and advocacy of childhood hunger issues.
“Cooking Matters is ending hunger by helping families make healthy food choices,” said community engagement manager Becky Mares.
The program is available in 52 of Colorado’s 64 counties.
“We can’t do this work without the community,” said Mares. “1 in 6 kids across Colorado is at risk of hunger and every child deserves to live to their full potential.”
Crandall echoes that sentiment.
“What makes our program so wonderful is that we’re meeting the need in the community,” she said.
The program offers a variety of free classes, ranging from 6-week courses to one-time events in grocery stores. Classes focus on teaching participants how to shop smarter and healthier, as well as demonstrating the skills necessary to prepare those healthy meals.
“It has given my life purpose,” said volunteer Bessie Castro. “I think a lot of times we think we need to be getting paid for our purpose, and that is what we need to be doing all day every day, but I don’t think that’s the case.”
Get Involved Colorado is a series that highlights nonprofit organizations across the state that are looking for volunteers. If you know of an organization that needs an extra set of hands and volunteers with passionate hearts, contact host/producer Karlie Huckels at email@example.com .