What is Cooking Matters?
Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan partners with the national nonprofit Share Our Strength to offer Cooking Matters® in Michigan. Cooking Matters teaches participants at risk of hunger and struggling with limited food budgets how to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices and cook delicious, affordable meals. Founded in 1993, Cooking Matters and thousands of volunteer instructors have helped more than 265,000 low-income families in communities across the country learn how to eat better for less.
What Volunteer Opportunities are available?
Culinary Instructors teach adults, kids, and teens how to cook healthy, low-cost foods using lesson plans and recipes provided in the Cooking Matters curricula. *Culinary instructors are usually either graduates of or enrolled in a two-year culinary training program, or have at least two years’ experience working as a cook or chef
Nutrition Instructors teach adults, kids, and teens how to engage critical thinking to make healthy food choices using the lesson plans provided in the Cooking Matters curricula. *Nutrition instructors are usually either graduates of or enrolled in a dietetics program, or have at least two years’ experience working in nutrition or dietetics.
Class Assistants help instructors and facilitators with classroom setup, food preparation, food shopping, class activities, and cleanup. The assistant is not expected to provide cooking or nutrition information, but this role can also provide an aspiring culinary or nutrition instructor with the opportunity to experience the 6-week course before determining if the lead instructor role would be suitable. *No experience necessary.
Who prepares the lesson plans and What will I be teaching?
The national Cooking Matters staff has developed curricula for all volunteer instructors and course participants. Nutrition content is based on MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines; recipes use accessible, low-cost, nutritious ingredients and have been cost and nutrition-analyzed. You will receive an instructor guide that includes lesson plans, activities, handouts, and recipes for each week.
Where and When are the Classes held?
There are several morning, afternoon, and evening classes to choose from in Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties. Cooking Matters partners with non-profit, community-based organizations serving low-income populations, who recruit the participants and provide the course space.
Who are the participants in Cooking Matters courses?
Cooking Matters courses are for those at risk of hunger. They include parents, adults, families, kids, teens, seniors and caregivers.
Who is present at each Cooking Matters course?
A culinary instructor, a nutrition instructor, a class assistant and a staff coordinator. The staff coordinator acts as a support resource for the volunteers, serves as a liaison between Cooking Matters at the host organization, helps ensure classes run smoothly and on time, and brings all necessary kitchen equipment, ingredients, handouts, and class materials based on instructor and class needs.
How long are the classes?
Classes meet for two hours, once a week on the same day for six weeks.
Do I need to attend every class in the series?
Yes, that is the expectation. But we understand that life happens and there may be times you need to cancel a session.
I can’t commit to a 6-week series. Are there are one-time volunteer opportunities available?
Yes. We are always looking for volunteers to fill in as a substitute for classes where another volunteer is absent. You can see a list of these one-time class opportunities and register here.
Do I need to bring anything?
Only the Cooking Matters Instructor Guide. Everything else that is needed… all cookware, food, handouts, stove top, plates, and silverware is brought to class by a Cooking Matters staff member.
I am a new volunteer. Do I need to attend a training class before I get started?
Yes. A two hour training is held at a variety of times to choose from at Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit.
How do I sign up for a training class?
You can register on-line here
How do I register to volunteer?
You can register to volunteer here
Want to receive e-mails about upcoming volunteer opportunities and Cooking Matters news?
To be put on the newsletter distribution list, e-mail our Volunteer Supervisor, Marci Fitch - firstname.lastname@example.org