With five kids, Marsha Kozmor never seems to slow down. Not only is she a busy mom, she has also been involved in her community, a small town just south of Detroit. “I’m on the School Board... I’m the vice president for the PTO for the middle school, and then we have a neighborhood team that runs the Girl Scouts for this area, and I’m on the team. I’ve been a Girl Scout leader for 15 years.” With her family on the go so often, it has been difficult to insist on healthy eating and home-cooked meals. “Well, [mealtimes are] always hectic, just because we’re involved in a lot. I work a lot in the community …so we do eat on the run a lot, and so we eat a lot more junk.”
With so many mouths to feed and on a limited budget, Marsha has learned the value of being thrifty: “I’ve always been a real shopper…, just because I’ve had to be, because of my husband’s income…”
After taking a nutrition and cooking class with Operation Frontline, a program through Gleaners Community Food Bank and Share Our Strength, Marsha noted a distinct change in her family’s eating and shopping habits. Three of her daughters, her twin 12-year-olds and her 16-year-old, were able to take the class with her, learning how to cook healthy meals alongside their mom.
Her 16-year-old daughter has even helped her to cook dinner since taking the class, preparing a Macaroni and Cheese recipe in the Operation Frontline cookbook. “I had to leave, so I gave her the stuff, and I went grocery shopping. I said, ‘Guys, it’s either that or you’re not getting no food.’ She did, and it came out really good! She made the whole thing! She made the whole dinner by herself!”
For Marsha, extra help from her daughters has been a godsend in the kitchen, especially with their busy schedule. On top of her community work, Marsha has also decided to go back to school, working on a degree in Information Insurance. Although her schedule is packed with obligations, Marsha noted that preparing meals and grocery shopping has become more of a family affair: “[We] went grocery shopping a couple of days ago, and I made them pull out the labels and start reading them… We did this all through the grocery store… ‘OK, we got these eggs. There’s a dozen for $0.99 or you could buy 18 for $1.49.’ …I think it’s a good lesson. You know, I really do.”
Marsha has not only encouraged her own family to adopt the principles in the Operation Frontline curriculum, she has also set up classes for other families in her Girl Scout troop, so that they could learn about food budgeting and nutritious foods as well. She credits the class with helping her family to slow down and spend more time together, saying, “We’re trying – we’ve had a few more meals together. We really try and do that together. Sometimes it might be sitting together in the living room, but we try."