Saturday, December 1, 2012

Guest Post: Cooking Matters Tompkins Campaign on PEAKS

Guest post from Lara Kaltman at Cornell Cooperative Extension:

Calling all cooks, from home to restaurant, to help raise money and spread awareness through your own healthy, affordable recipes.

Hello, I'm the Nutrition Team Coordinator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County. One of the programs that I coordinate is a partnership with Share our Strength's Cooking Matters, a national program dedicated to helping families with limited resources by teaching them how to prepare healthy and affordable meals at home. Volunteers are at the heart of the cooking classes and grocery store tours, which are co-facilitated by nutrition educators and culinary instructors.  Cooking class participants prepare and share healthy meals during every class, and take home the ingredients to try one of the recipes at home. Grocery store tour participants receive a $10 gift card to purchase the ingredients for a healthy, affordable family meal.

This year, we have a new group of volunteers who went through an intensive 8-week leadership development training called Community Chef.  The Community Chef Coordinator, Neisha Butler, and I wanted to find new ways that would allow Community Chefs to be directly involved with raising funding for the courses, tours and outreach activities in our community that matter most to them. Many of our colleagues at CCE Tompkins are using the web platform PEAKS, which helps Changemakers bring a good cause to life with easy, affordable online tools for raising money, building a community and developing capacity to raise funding for their programs.  So we turned to Emma Frisch, PEAKS Director and Co-founder, for guidance.  Emma met with me and one of our dedicated volunteers several times to coach us on how to develop a creative campaign for Cooking Matters.  
We played around with ideas that involved a food stamp challenge. But that seemed too complicated and time-consuming for our busy volunteers, friends and family members. We finally decided on a campaign that would let us use our passion as a vehicle for change: cook good food and brag about how delicious, healthy and affordable it is! 

Here is what you have to do:
  1. Click "Be a Champion" and set up your Champion page. Set a fundraising goal and start cooking!
  2. Make one healthy, affordable home-cooked meal every week (4 total). Write down the recipe and take a picture of your final dish! (See an example at bottom of update page: Fall Vegetable Salad)
  3. Tell everyone you know about it!  Post a photo of your meal in your Updates. Include a description of what makes your dish healthy, affordable and enjoyable! (See an example at bottom of update page: Fall Vegetable Salad)
Here is what we promise to do with the money we raise:
Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Nutrition Educators will team up with Volunteer Culinary Instructors to offer effective hands-on courses for groups of kids, teens, adults and families in CCE's new teaching kitchen and various community locations.  Course participants will prepare and share a meal together, and then take home the ingredients to try the recipe at home. Nutrition Educators and Volunteers will lead Shopping Matters grocery store tours, which teach families how to shop for healthy foods on a limited budget.  At the end of every tour participants use what they've learned to plan a healthy meal for a family of four and shop for the ingredients using a $10 gift card.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Lara Parrilla Kaltman, MPH, RD

Nutrition Team Coordinator
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County
615 Willow Ave.
Ithaca, NY 14850

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