Community Kitchen promotes cooking healthy food, budgeting and informed grocery shopping

Brad Park of Alberta Works giving a presentation on budgeting during the Community Kitchen program at McLennan Elks Hall, February 28.

Tom Henihan
Express Staff

Community Kitchen, an initiative aimed at promoting healthy eating especially for low-income families took place at McLennan Elks Hall from 10am to 3pm on Wednesday, February 28.

“The Community Kitchen is sponsored through the High Prairie Food Bank,” says FCSS Family and Youth Program Coordinator, Crystal Marschner, who facilitated the event.

“We get a group of low-income families together and cook five nutritious meals. The participants then take them home, put them in their freezers and have five healthy meals to feed their families.”

At the McLennan Elks Hall event, the participants spent the morning segment of the program cooking sweet and sour meatballs, Texas chilly, shepherd’s pie, and an easy sausage and egg breakfast casserole.

“The participants are involved in all the cooking. They do everything. There were four participants: one person did the breakfast casserole, one person did the chilly and so on,” says Marschner. “They also do all the cleaning. Everything is done by them I am just here to help facilitate.”

In the afternoon, Albert Works’ Brad Park gave a presentation on budgeting, making prudent choices and best strategies for stretching one’s resources.

Dietician Rebecca Franchuk of Alberta Health Services gave a talk on nutrition, choosing a healthy diet on a budget and label reading. She also had handouts available on food choices and offered suggestions on food safety.

“It is a full encompassing learning day for all the participants,” says Marschner.

The first Community Kitchen was in Jean Cote on November 28 and following McLennan the hope is to hold one in each of the communities, Girouxville on the last Wednesday in May and Donnelly the last Wednesday in August at G.P. Vanier School.

The May Community Kitchen in Girouxville will focus on cooking for singles, which is considerably different from cooking for a family.

The date and location of the Falher Community Kitchen has yet to be determined.

If people feel this is something they want and that they qualify for, they should contact us,” says Marschner. “It is free and if someone can’t get here, we can use Smoky River Transportation as transport. We accommodate everyone’s needs so there are no barriers for participating. If people have reduced mobility things will be modified to accommodate those needs.”

Participants’ food allergies or dietary requirements can also be accommodated when outlined in the Community Kitchen intake form.

Crystal Marschner can be reached through the FCSS office at 780-837-2220.

Alberta Health Services dietician, Rebecca Franchuk, presenting a talk on nutrition at the Community Kitchen.


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