HANDS: Hands in the Kitchen

Grant Amount: $5,000

HANDS provides healthy food for low-income adults 50 years and older in Chittenden County. Our mission is to improve food security, reduce isolation, provide education in order to maintain independence, and improve health by filling gaps without duplicating services. Programs include "HANDS in the Dirt" gardening programs at long-term nursing centers, senior housing, and community garden sites; the coordination of a hot meal and giftbag delivered to 700 seniors throughout the county on Christmas Day; "HANDS in the Kitchen" nutrition education classes; and a partnership with the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelfs "Good Food Truck" to deliver weekly hot meals to Canal Street Veterans Housing (where vets are transitioning from homelessness) and other low-income senior housing in Winooski.

"HANDS in the Kitchen" is a nutrition education 8-week workshop series that promotes healthy eating and encourages positive change. By providing topics such as tips about grocery shopping, cooking for one, menu planning, cooking and clean­up tips, etc. participants learn simple ways to improve eating habits. Workshops include information and hands-on activities such as the use of herbs rather than salt, easy canning and pickling, taste-testing grains, making fruit smoothies, introduction of multicultural foods, low-sugar jam making, jar salads, repurposing food, healthy and simple sauces, and more. A shared meal at the end of each workshop encourages interaction and reduces isolation. Every participant receives a "Guide to Healthy Eating for Older Adults" and local food access options during the final workshop.

Funding would cover the cost of programming for one year which includes two separate 8-week series. "HANDS in the Kitchen" partners with Burlington Parks Recreation & Waterfront, Champlain Senior Center, City Market (we include a field trip to learn more about the benefits of the bulk section there), Heineberg Senior & Community Center, North End Studios, ONE Community Center, Red Wagon Plants, Vantage Press, and Winooski Senior Center as well as some senior housing sites.