Lynn-based farming and food justice nonprofit The Food Project has received a grant from Boston-based hunger relief nonprofit Project Bread that it plans to use to help fund cooking classes that will teach community members how to use locally and seasonal foods and help participants access more affordable, healthy food.
The Food Project will use the $6,500 grant to fund a program in partnership with KIPP Academy Lynn, a group of public charter schools serving 1,610 students and their families across two campuses in the city. The schools and The Food Project will develop cooking classes rooted in local, seasonal and culturally-appropriate foods and recipes, taught primarily by two community members and community gardeners, Tshilanda Mukala and Marjahan Begum.
The classes will teach cooking skills and new recipes, as well as giving participants local vegetables to take home and sharing resources to help them better access food in their communities. Participants will be offered assistance signing up for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits – formerly known as food stamps – and the Healthy Incentives Program, which offers matching to help families buy fresh, local produce. The goal of the program is to build of community around healthy cooking and pride in a diversity of cultural culinary traditions, while reducing stigma around issues of nutrition and food security.
“We aim to build a community rooted in health, cultural sharing and a joy in cooking that will support families in gaining access to the foods that will nourish them physically, emotionally and culturally,” shares Ludia Modi, North Shore regional director for The Food Project. “These cooking classes will weave issues of food access, food security, and delicious, healthy cooking into the strong social fabric that the KIPP Academy has already built amongst its families, and we’re excited to partner with this committed school community.”
This most recent funding, part of Project Bread’s Pathways to Change grant program, is just the latest The Food Project has recently received from the Boston organization. Over the last two years, as the COVID pandemic drove significant increases in food insecurity, Project Bread has distributed more than $680,000 to nonprofits helping address the problem. The Food Project has received $50,000 of this money for its hunger relief work in Lynn.
“Connecting people with sustainable solutions not only brings immediate relief, it also provides agency and empowers people in the long term. We learned that solutions must come from the people closest to the problem,” says Erin McAleer, CEO of Project Bread. “We continue to learn from and invest in our community partners because of their strength in creating local, sustainable solutions. Supporting our community partners, like The Food Project, is one of our key strategies for ending hunger statewide.”