2010 Grant Recipient: The CARE Center/New Hope Elementary School
The C.A.R.E. Center, a program of New Hope Elementary School in Alabama, will use its $1,000 grant to purchase nutritional videos, a refrigerator, an electric range, and various cookware and utensils needed for its healthy cooking club. New Hope is a Title I school where more than half the students participate in the Free and Reduced Lunch Assistance Program. And about 385 of them will now be able to participate in a nutrition course led by a certified dietician who will teach them about the importance of eating a well-balanced diet.

Learn more about the CWC nutrition grant program at: http://www.consumerwellness.org/NutritionalGrantProgram.html

Update: August, 2011

At New Hope Community Learning Center; Top Chef Club Members learn to apply classroom reading, math, science & technology skills in the kitchen!

New Hope Community Learning Center (NHCLC) is an after school program that takes place at New Hope Elementary School (NHES) and is sponsored by the CARE Center, a non-profit (501C-3) organization, in partnership with the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program (21st CCLC).

NHES student population has multiple environmental risk factors that work against school success. One of the main factors is poverty and the lack of food security. Many of our students come to school each day hungry because they have not had a meal since they left school the previous day. This has prompted the CARE Center and its volunteers to implement programs such as Bags of Blessings, a program that sends a bag of food home each Friday with students who receive free or reduced lunch at NHES. However, many of these students are too young to know how to prepare a meal or use kitchen equipment safely and therefore still come to school each day hungry.

It is NHCLC’s Top Chef Club’s goal to teach club members to make healthy snacks that take little preparation and use fairly inexpensive ingredients so that they will be able to recreate the recipes at home. We will also expose club members to new and different foods/recipes; while allowing hands-on preparation and cooking time. The Consumer Wellness Program, in partnership with the 21st CCLC, will afford NHCLC the opportunity to spend at least three sessions in 2011, achieving these goals. Our first session has just ended, and we are pleased to report that our Top Chef Club was a great success.

Club members enjoyed surprise visits from a registered dietician, who volunteered her time in our program. Club members were introduced to the Food Pyramid and have become familiar with what daily intake of each food group should look like. They also studied the link between good nutrition and healthy lifestyle/exercise.

Each week, Top Chef Club members learn how to use a variety of small kitchen appliances, such as blenders, mixers, mandolin slicers, food choppers, ect…while also learning kitchen safety when using larger appliances such as stoves, ovens and microwaves; all of which the Consumer Wellness grant afforded us.

As a finale for our first session, club members prepared a spaghetti dinner for our NHCLC Family Night. Our family night is an event where parents are encouraged to attend and see what their children have learned during this session. It’s also an effort to reach out to our parents, and hopefully get them more involved in their child’s education. This session’s family night was the night before our Fun Run.

In addition to our Top Chef Club, we also have a D-1 club. D-1 is a local sports training organization. We contracted D-1 to train our students on proper running techniques for a Fun Run; and the benefits of stretching, exercise and physical fitness.

For Family Night, Top Chef Club members used classroom skills to decide how much whole wheat pasta would need to be prepared to feed 100 people. They also created a taste test to decide what kind of marinara to serve with the spaghetti. Club members tasted plain marinara, meat marinara, and onion, garlic and basil flavored marinara. They created a graph to chart which marinara sauce was the top choice. The onion, garlic and basil flavored marinara won!

Club members researched the effects of carbohydrates to the body, and presented to parents on Family Night the reasons why we were feeding spaghetti to our D1 runners the night before our race. Club members also researched the need for proper nutrition post-race, and chose to feed our racers bananas and water after the race. Students also presented to parents the effects of potassium and electrolytes to our bodies, and explained why they chose to give bananas and water to our racers.

We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to educate and inspire children through this program. We hope to empower our club members with the tools necessary to make good food choices and sustain a healthy lifestyle, which in turn will also improve their classroom behavior and performance during the school day.