Continuing Our Work with Veterans
Our program—in partnership with Atlanta VA Health Care System and St. Vincent de Paul Georgia—to support vulnerable veterans living at or below the federal poverty line started in June 2021, with the goal of improving health outcomes and ultimately reducing nutrition insecurity by empowering them with practical nutrition knowledge. Earlier this month, our fourth cohort officially graduated from the program!
Participants celebrated with a healthy lunch and some cake. “I would take the class all over again if I could,” said one class participant. Like many of his fellow classmates, by the end of the class he’d learned to take more care in reading nutritional labels and observing serving sizes. Already he feels as though it’s helped him manage his borderline diabetes.
“I didn’t want to go to a food pantry,” said another class participant, “but I agreed to take the class because I’m diabetic and know I need to be watching my diet and weight. I got a lot more out of this than I expected. I used to buy whatever I wanted when I went to the store, but now I know that there are things that taste good and are healthy that I can reach for.”
Over the course of six weeks, veterans learned everything from how to read a food label to how to grocery shop for and prepare deliciously healthy meals on a budget. With the help of our Cooking Matters instructors and chefs, participants learned practical, simple steps they could take to build healthier habits into their routines. “It was like an epiphany,” said another participant. “I’ve learned so much about things I didn’t know, but now this is part of my life forever. I don’t ever want to go back to the way I was.”
At the end of the class, every participant took home a plug-in skillet to help them continue their cooking journey. And while many are sad it’s over and will miss gathering together weekly, each is optimistic that they’ll be able to continue on with what they’ve learned. We’re proud to see such incredible growth from this group, and are thrilled to begin our fifth and sixth cohorts’ journey at the end of the month!
To read more about this incredible program, click here.