Share Our Strength® Joins We Can!® Efforts
In June 2012, We Can! welcomed Share Our Strength as an exciting new national partner that will be collaborating with We Can! to help spread the word about the links between nutrition and physical activity to childhood obesity.
Share Our Strength is a national non-profit that aims to end childhood hunger in America through its No Kid Hungry campaign that is working to ensure every child gets the healthy food they need, every day. Both We Can! and Share Our Strength have curricula and programming that will be helpful for local communities and families interested in improving children's nutrition.
Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters®, an integral part of the No Kid Hungry campaign, teaches families at risk of hunger how to get more food for their money and better nourishment from those foods. Volunteer culinary and nutrition experts lead six-week cooking and nutrition courses and hour-long Shopping Matters grocery store tours where participants learn how to select nutritious and low-cost ingredients and prepare them in delicious and healthy ways.
"We know from nearly 20 years of experience serving low-income families across the country that every parent wants what's best for their child, regardless of income level. But, as our It's Dinnertime study found, some families struggle to afford healthful grocery items. Simple strategies like comparing unit prices and buying frozen and canned fruits and vegetables when fresh are too expensive can help families stretch their food dollar in a healthy way," said Janet McLaughlin, Senior Director of Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters.
In 2011 alone, Cooking Matters helped 100,000 individuals at risk of hunger in 41 states get more from their food resources—more than double the number of people reached in 2010. Today, 85 percent of participants in the six-week program graduate, taking with them improved nutrition practices, eating habits, and food budgeting skills.
Over the upcoming months, We Can! and Share Our Strength will collaborate and strengthen both initiatives with activities, including:
- Distribution of the We Can! Parent Program curriculum and materials with Share Our Strength's network that may be able to use this information to supplement their ongoing Cooking Matters programming with additional messages about promoting physical activity and reducing screen time.
- Connection of We Can! community sites with the materials and resources offered by Cooking Matters programs. These programs will complement the We Can! parent programming being implemented by many We Can! community sites, in particular those that have already undertaken cooking lessons and grocery store tours, but have not had formal guidance or resources to support these activities.
The new collaboration with Share Our Strength will be especially helpful for community sites working with low-income families who are at risk for both obesity and hunger, as Cooking Matters incorporates food budgeting and nutritious yet low-cost ingredients into their sessions. Keep an eye out for ways We Can! community sites can get involved with this great organization! If you have questions in the meantime, don't hesitate to contact your technical assistance liaison, or one of the national office staff.