The Andover Townsman
---- — As students throughout the region head back to school this week and next, a national nonprofit program is working to ensure all children have access to the nutritious food they need to thrive and is seeking support and volunteers from Andover
Cooking Matters Massachusetts empowers local families at risk of hunger with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to shop for and cook healthy, affordable and delicious meals through its six-week program, Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters, and one-time grocery shopping tours known as Cooking Matters at the Store.
Sponsored nationally by Walmart, the program is built around the statistics that 15 percent of Americans are now living in poverty and nearly one in five children’s families lack the necessary resources to provide them with nutritious food.
More than 900 participants graduated from the Cooking Matters program in Massachusetts in 2012. The program aims to reach more than 1,000 families in the state in 2013.
Locally, Cooking Matters has been working with organizations such as Groundwork Lawrence, Lawrence Community Connections and the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence.
“The recession has impacted families across the country, including those in all of Massachusetts,” Alicia McCabe, director of Cooking Matters Massachusetts, says in a press release.
McCabe says Cooking Matters Massachusetts has outstanding chefs, nutritionists and other community members who volunteer their skills and expertise. But more support is needed to help meet the high demand for the courses, she says.
Ruthy Olney, assistant director of school nutrition for the Andover Public Schools, has volunteered with the program and says she is “so impressed by the work they do.”
An informational session on Cooking Matters and Share our Strength will be held Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Hall Library, 2 North Main St., Andover. The session will offer ways to get involved as a volunteer or supporter with the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry campaign.
To learn more, visit www.cookingmatters.org/mass or www.NoKidHungry.org.