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Cooking class improves variety, diet for needy

Posted July 15, 2014
Updated July 16, 2014

— At a cooking class at the Fayetteville Urban Ministries, Veola McRae learned to stretch healthy but expensive ingredients to make better meals for her family while sticking to a budget.

"I already feel like I know how to cook, but this helps me enhance what I'm already doing, for healthwise to eat better," she said.

McRae participates in a six-week course supported by Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Second Harvest Food Bank, learning to prepare simple, frugal, healthy meals with food was donated from the local food bank.

The food banks are pushing their clients to better understand the health benefits and uses of fresh produce, which can be costly for those on a limited budget.

"If they're getting a extra amount of produce from a pantry or Second Harvest, then they'll know, 'OK, I can use some of it for these recipes I have," said Jill Brown of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. 

Brown said preparation and safe storage techniques are just part of the class. 

"They'll learn how to shop better at the grocery store as part of this course," she said. "We do a grocery store tour and actually show them how to shop on a budget." 

McRae and her cooking classmates enjoyed their lessons, and later the meals they prepared. All participants got ingredients to take home so they can practice the new recipes on their families.

WRAL and Radio One Raleigh are launching HungerFreeNC a week-long start of a community movement.

We'll have special programming all next week and the first ever, day-long MEDIAthon on TV, radio and web to raise money for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, our non-profit partner.

To succeed, we need you! Donate NOW and learn about Inter-Faith Food Shuttle programs at WRAL.com/HungerFreeNC.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • 50s Child Jul 17, 2014

    I'll try it again. I looked at the link and it showed approx 26.8% (approx $800,000) of this org's money comes from grants, which is probably tax money as opposed to donations, which are broken out separately. That's not insignificant.

  • glarg Jul 16, 2014

    It seems like a great idea to me.

    Stretching meals, planning ahead, knowing what to look for when shopping- skills that used to be common 20 years ago and are sadly lacking now.

    " pushing their clients to better understand the health benefits and uses of fresh produce, which can be costly for those on a limited budget."A welcome break from the nonsensical "fresh produce!" "eat organic!" litany that people are bombarded with. Those are costly, have little to no nutritional advantage for most foods and are a trap for people on a budget. Frozen vegetables are a fraction of the cost of fresh and dont go bad on you in two days. Canned versions of things like tomatoes are much more flexible and convenient than fresh. Knowing how to store potatoes is the difference between keeping a week and keeping over a month.

    We do a disservice to the poor and struggling in trying to get them to live a Gweneth Paltrow/Michelle Obama life style when there are simple, cheap, effective soluti

  • Danny22 Jul 16, 2014

    this is an easy fix. quit allowing food stamps to be used for junk.

  • 50s Child Jul 16, 2014

    Went to their website and as is the case with so many of these organizations, they talk a lot about hungry children and not a word about where their money comes from. They mention "partners" and "agencies" and that's about it. My point is that whoever said there's no tax money involved is probably wrong.


    Response from WRAL.com:
    Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is almost entirely funded by private donations. You can see their annual reports here: http://foodshuttle.org/about-us/annual-reports/

  • Duff Dry Jul 16, 2014

    This is excellent work! Fixing the "standard American diet" is really difficult, but healthy home cooking is the main ingredient.

  • icdumbpeople Jul 16, 2014

    They should have their own stores with cheese / beans/ juice/ bread and milk. Government grocery stores. Until they work for a living -

  • iopsyc Jul 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Ban the "bad food" and people will find a way to circumvent the ban, or heck they might even use what little income they have to buy the bad food they desire.

    Realistically, it's near impossible to legislate/mandate certain behaviors.

  • Heather Brittingham Jul 16, 2014
    user avatar

    Many years ago, my mom did this when we lived in Michigan. She was always a very talented cook who could whip up a great, nutritious meal from whatever we had in the house. She shared that knowledge with people who had very little income and very little education in healthy eating.

  • Selena N Jason Youmans Jul 16, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    What tax-payer money? The food bank is non-profit that people *donate* to. And I don't consider this a waste. In the long run, it will save money because healthy people need fewer health interventions and medications.

  • Danny22 Jul 16, 2014

    All you have to do is ban the bad food. It would be easy to control what food stamp recipients buy. they would save money too if people quit eating so much junk and red meat.