Programs involving food, even just light refreshments, are always popular with Homes First residents. So it’s no surprise that Rebecca’s cooking classes, held biweekly at two of our supportive housing locations, were the most popular programs of 2019.
Rebecca, a registered dietitian, started by helping in the kitchen at Savards women’s shelter before starting a cooking class at Meegwetch Place. Structured to teach tips and tricks on how to stretch a dollar and still make nutritious meals, Rebecca also hoped to make the classes fun for residents, many of whom are on fixed incomes and face food insecurity.
“It’s not necessarily about the food as much as the community aspect. It’s giving people the chance to create something together.”
Each month, residents would work together to create recipes, and also give suggestions for what to make in the next class. Along with hands-on skills, residents also learned useful food tips, such as how to read food labels, or the merits of sometimes buying frozen over fresh. The recipes were simple, involving only a few steps and ingredients, with Rebecca joking that she did so on purpose since she’s not a good cook.
“If I can make it, anyone can!”
Recipes included everything from a simple mac and cheese, to banana chocolate chip cookies, to chili and homemade biscuits.
Eventually, Rebecca’s classes moved to Homes First’s Sheila Miller building, targeting a community with many single-parent families. There, one resident would call her friends after each class, to share the recipes and tips she learned. Although Rebecca’s classes finished when she starting working, she’s hoping to start up again, even if it’s just a few sessions spread out over the summer, to continue teaching and having fun with our residents.
“We’re all different, we all can still get along and everybody eats, so you know, it brings people together.”