Finding unique ways to fund Michigan State University Extension programming and ensure we can reach our audiences sometimes takes a creative approach from our staff members. In June 2014, MSU Extension Wayne County received a grant for $39,756 from the Allen Foundation, which has allowed our Extension staff to present the Cooking Matters program.
The two fiduciaries for the grant are Extension program instructor Amanda Knox and Extension educator Michelle Gordon-Releford. Extension educator Eileen Haraminac serves as their supervising educator. Amanda and Eileen wrote the grant to support Amanda’s new position in the area, and the grant has allowed her to fund multiple series.
Cooking Matters appeals to people because in addition to learning how to eat healthy, participants receive cooking lessons and groceries. The grant was designed to work with a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) audience in Wayne County to enable them to receive the groceries that go along with the program.
“This is an awesome program, and people love it,” said Michelle. “I’m very grateful to be involved in this program, and for six weeks at a time, there is a family that is eating because of it.”
The grant allowed the team to produce eight Cooking Matters classes with money left over to do additional classes. The team members anticipated 45 participants in the grant, but they’ve exceeded their expectations with 87 participants, 59 graduates and seven participants just starting the program.