Karen McDougall, Family Nutrition Program Assistant with the OSU Extension Office, has been coming to CHOPIN Hall on Mondays and Wednesday to pass out food samples to people coming to receive assistance. She discusses with them recipes, ways to make health family meals, and suggestions for using the foods they receive from our agency to make low-cost, nutritious and tasty meals.
“I have tried to come up with recipes they can make with the foods they receive from CHOPIN Hall,” explains Karen. She has made everything from chicken salad to various soups to simple casseroles.
It took a bit of time for people to warm up to Karen, but now they sit and share cooking tips and recipes. Some of the clients have shared their methods of using the large packages of meat they sometimes receive from our agency, giving Karen great ideas for future samples. She also prepares some foods that clients may have never tasted before, such as lentils or black eyed peas. “If they don’t know how to fix it or what the food tastes like they won’t take it from the pantry table,” Karen reports.
Everyone involved in this educational project is pleased with the results. “We felt like we needed to do more than just hand out food,” reports CHOPIN Director Marti Price. “We needed to introduce the educational component to teach people about preparing low cost, good tasting, and nutritious meals. It is important to let people know what to do with the food we hand out.”
Karen is equally as pleased with the educational program. “One day I was walking into The Family Center with my food samples and a lady leaned out of her van to ask what I was fixing for the day,” she reports. “That made my day. I felt that I was accepted by the clients and they were taking a real interest in the meals I was preparing.”