By: Judy Myers
So we held a team meeting with Bruce Vento social workers Marisa Biolo and Michael Carlson, school principal Scott Masini, assistant principal Fhonda Hicks, family liaison coordinator Cyndy McRae, U of M Extension educators Jennifer Ogren and Shirley Vang, and Rebecca Mino from Second Harvest.
We discussed how sometimes families either do not pick up available food boxes or throw away portions of the box because they do not know how to use the contents. To address this, we developed a four-month plan to provide food tastings, cooking demonstrations, cooking classes, and colorful cards with pictures and preparation suggestions of common fruits and vegetables typically found at Cub Foods.
In December, following the school’s annual cultural celebration, we invited families to sample corn chowder that Community Nutrition Educator Jennifer Ogren prepared using some of the ingredients that families would receive as part of their monthly food box from Second Harvest. Of the nearly 300 families in attendance, most adults and children were eager to sample the soup and took copies of the recipe. Beginning with the January food distribution at the school, Jennifer will provide cooking demonstrations based on the contents of the monthly food boxes. To help us provide classes that meet the specific needs of Bruce Vento families, we will ask care providers to complete a short survey about class times and child care needs.
With the beginning of a new year, the partnership with the school continues to grow and develop new layers. Moving forward, we plan to collect and document successes and lessons that may help to sustain and replicate this work.
Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Learners is an ongoing partnership between the Extension Children, Youth, and Family Consortium and the Bruce Vento Elementary School. Together, along with many other partners, we are developing engaging learning environments that promote student learning and wellness.