Saturday, January 25, 2014

4 Cooking-Based Nonprofits Who Are Solving Problems One Dish At A Time

Food is a non-optional part of being alive, and consequently, it’s the source of a lot social problems in America. Many of us who have easy access to food and were taught at a young age how to whip up healthy meals can’t appreciate how much basic nutrition can be a stumbling block to prosperity. People frequently can’t get enough of it, don’t know how to cook it, or don’t know how to handle it properly. Food troubles can cause serious health problems and even worsen the condition of people stuck in the spiral of poverty. Fortunately, there are many clever nonprofits who are working to change America’s relationship with food for the better.

Here are four nonprofits that are using pots, pans, ovens, and olive oil to make the country healthier and more prosperous place to live.

1) Together We Bake Gives Troubled Women Job Skills

Reintegrating into society can be challenging for people who have been released from prison or jail. Not only do many not have quality job skills they can use to support themselves, but many companies simply refuse to hire prior offenders. Together We Bake, along with corporate sponsor,  helps give previously incarcerated women a second chance by teaching them baking techniques, job skills, and self-esteem. By whipping up cookies, granola, and other goodies, the women in this Virginia nonprofit can set themselves up for a productive career.

2) Cooking Matters Spreads Shopping And Cooking Knowledge

Since some of the cheapest food sources are also the least healthy in America, poverty, obesity, and poor health frequently go hand in hand. The only thing stopping some families from making better meals at home is knowing the best ways to prepare food at home and how to gather ingredients at the grocery store. Fortunately, Cooking Matters Colorado is working to nip that problem at its source by providing food education courses that teach easy ways to shop on a budget and make healthy meals quickly and easily. Their completely free, six-week course gives students a foundation on food that will serve them for the rest of their lives. 

3) The Cooking Project Teaches With Food

Cooking is much more than just a way to have tasty meals, it’s an education. You can learn about chemistry through the cooking process, discover new cultures by trying foreign cuisines, and learn self-sufficiency by having a big repertoire of dishes. That’s why The Cooking Project aims to bring the educational power of food to kids and young adults all across the country. People aged 15-25 can take free classes in San Francisco to sharpen up their culinary skills and learn about everything that goes into good food.

4) Mama’s Kitchen Delivers Gives Meals To People Who Need It The Most

Being diagnosed with a serious illness can turn your world upside down. Frequently those who are forced to fight through a troubling diagnosis toss even basic necessities— like eating— to the wayside. To make sure people in the San Diego area who are living with HIV/AIDS or Cancer get the nutrition they need to stay as strong and healthy as possible, Mama’s Kitchen delivers free, home-cooked meals and pantry staples. The foundation was started in 1990, and delivers hundreds of thousands of meals to those suffering from life-threatening diseases and their dependant children every year.

About the author:  Fulton Snedly is a blogger living in San Diego, California.  He writes about charity, cooking, and social media.
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