Starting in February, Just Food began offering cooking classes at First Step at Lakeview. Classes are offered at First Step on two occasions over the three week rehabilitation cycle. The program allows the women at First Step to gain important life skills during their time at treatment & build upon their kitchen knowledge & meal prepping ability.
One of the main focuses of programming is to give the participants a better understanding the impact of food choices on not only their health, but local economy and the environment. Classes offered at First Step focus on creating affordable, nutritious meals for under $2/serving. Individuals work together in smaller groups to create more of a family style setting within their cooking experience. Working in smaller groups allows individuals to collaborate on dishes, learn from and teach each other, and building social bonds, to develop key skills that will have to be applied and tested in the world after treatment. Programming also allows individuals a new & different way to invest back into themselves.
During the two week program, participants are asked to create one goal they would like to accomplish within the program. A resounding amount of participants stated they were excited to learn new recipes, try new meals they can then take back home as well as learn to read a recipe and cook better. One participant reported she loved having the ability to learn how to prepare a one pot meal but also learning how to use a crock pot to prep a meal ahead of time or even create it as a freezer meal as well. She also stated she enjoyed that ability to change up the flavoring and create more meals out of one a one pot meal & still not feel as if she would be eating the same thing over and over again once she went back home to her family. Another participant stated she never would have thought to incorporate as many vegetables into the dish and expect it to be as good as it tasted.