Food $ense is a collaboration between Second Harvest and Washington State University Extension in Spokane County. This winning recipe for fighting hunger includes classes that teach low-income families and seniors how to eat healthy meals on a shoestring budget to make the most of emergency food supplies.
Food Sense instructors Rhonda Hause and Brandi Anderson keep it "light" when teaching clients how to prepare low-fat meals using inexpensive ingredients and items that are commonly included in emergency food boxes.
The upbeat social atmosphere makes Food Sense classes a draw for a variety of struggling families and for low-income seniors, who might otherwise feel uncomfortable accessing help. During class, instructors cook a main dish for everyone to sample, while offering hints about food safety, meal preparation and making the most of a meager grocery budget. Second Harvest provides people attending Food Sense classes with a supply of produce, dairy and staples to take home.
Since 2004, the federally funded nutrition education program funded has offered classes at 17 partner agencies distributing emergency food supplies in SpokaneCounty. Food Sense instructors also go into dozens of schools, where half or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, and teach kids about healthy eating.
Grace, a 61-year-old widow who lives on a fixed income and spends $100 to $300 a month on medication for heart disease, said the fruits and vegetables she receives through Food Sense improve her general health.
"They'll give you food that you can use," Grace said. "It's things that I can not afford to go out and buy."
For more information about Food Sense, please contact WSU Extension at 477-2049.
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