Two Michigan State University Extension staff members and a chef who helped out in the program will have the opportunity to attend the Share Our Strength Cooking Matters National Conference of Leaders 2013 in June.
Cooking Matters empowers people to make healthy food choices and save money at the same time. The program is part of a broader strategy to end childhood hunger, the Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. ConAgra Foods Foundation and Wal-Mart sponsor the program nationally. Gleaner’s Community Food Bank in Detroit partners with MSU Extension to make the program possible locally across the state.
Carol Bublitz recently received the Share Our Strength Cooking Matters Conference of Leaders Volunteer Scholarship, an opportunity for each Cooking Matters program partner to select one Cooking Matters volunteer to attend. The scholarship covers expenses associated with attendance.
Carol is an MSU Extension program instructor who works with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) and the Breastfeeding Initiative (BFI) in St. Clair County.
Carol had served as a nutrition educator for the Cooking Matters program since 2009, working directly with Gleaners, before it became an approved curriculum for MSU Extension. Since that time, she and Cassandra Hackstock, another Extension program instructor, have coordinated more than15 additional Cooking Matters courses in St. Clair County.
Carol said, “Cassandra would be accompanying me, but the scholarship only covers one volunteer.
“The partnership between Cooking Matters is strong and vital. I can’t help but acknowledge that the appreciation goes both ways,” Carol said.
Don Zimmer, a volunteer chef who assists in teaching Cooking Matters classes in Mecosta County, will receive recognition at the conference and will be inducted into the Cooking Matters Hall of Fame at that time. The Hall of Fame honors volunteers across the country who have completed at least 15 Cooking Matters course series. This is an amazing accomplishment considering Chef Don only began volunteering in February 2012.
These courses could not have been possible without the support and coordination expertise of Extension program assistant Effie Jack. She recruited and engaged Chef Don in the Cooking Matters program. Together they facilitated 15 Cooking Matters classes and she continually keeps a waiting list for people signed up for Cooking Matters. Effie will also attend the conference.