Who doesn’t like the idea of getting more for your dollar? I know I always give myself a pat on the back when my grocery cashier tells me, “You saved $35 this week!” For me, it’s a sense of accomplishment with little consequence either way, but for many families, savings can mean the difference between a meal on the table and going to bed hungry.
Luckily there are organizations like Share Our Strength®, a national nonprofit whose goal is to end childhood hunger in America. One of their many programs is Cooking Matters®, which empowers low-income families with the skills, knowledge and confidence to prepare healthy and affordable meals.
Many of Cooking Matters graduates rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and/or benefits from Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (better known as WIC) to buy food for their families. Cooking Matters’ curriculum focuses heavily on showing these families how to best use their benefits – helping them to get more for less.
The curriculum works. In early 2012 Cooking Matters partnered with APCO Insight and Channing Johnson Photography to interview and document five graduates as they shopped for groceries and cooked dinner for their families. APCO saw firsthand how these families are able to stretch their dollars. Lareese Cathey, a graduate from Maryland, gave a great example, telling us how before attending Cooking Matters a $6 WIC fruit and vegetable check would cover two items. Now, she is able to buy two packages of frozen fruit, two cans of fruit and a pack of applesauce with that same amount.
Ultimately, programs like these are a win-win-win – a win for the families, a win for society and even a win for the taxpayer.