News / Blog

ClackCoKids Offers More Cooking Matters Classes!

By Luna Bruno; Nutrition and Sustainability Specialist |

Thanks to generous funding from our partners at PNC Bank, ClackCoKids has been able to continue to offer Cooking Matters classes to families in our programs.

The Cooking Matters curriculum teaches families about nutritional health, the importance of a balanced diet, and how to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals. We also talk about other important topics such as how to cook within a budget, and how to meet special dietary needs, like allergies or food preferences. Families receive fun ClackCoKids cooking tools, like cutting boards, aprons, and utensils. We encourage parents to include their children in the cooking and mealtime experience, using it as a time of family bonding and connection.

Each week, my team and I assemble kits for every participant with the food needed for the recipe we will be making in class and deliver them to our centers. The kits are available for pick-up at each family’s center when they pick-up or drop off their child from school. We also have help from our Family Advocates and Family Educators to deliver food kits directly to the family’s home when their child is absent from school, or is enrolled in one of our home-based programs.

Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we offered these classes virtually – and now we are continuing in the virtual format because of the benefits we have found. Participants are able to take the class in the comfort of their own home, working out of their own kitchens, at various different days and times of the week as fits their schedule. We offer 10 different time slots throughout the week for parents to take the class, and one of them is in Spanish. We also can provide translation more easily to any language by having an interpreter join the scheduled Zoom meeting.

We have participants who are based out of every one of our 10 centers across Clackamas County, and from our home-based programs – so we increased the geographic area we can serve by staying virtual and not hosting at specific centers. The virtual format also helps with transportation costs, as we have seen that rising gas prices have become an increasing barrier to family engagement.

What makes Cooking Matters different for our families this year, is that we are offering a live grocery store tour during one of the class days, to learn how to apply what they learn in class while shopping at their local store. Families will receive a $20 gift card to shop during the session as they participate in the “Grocery Store Challenge”. The challenge is to find foods in all 5 food groups in the grocery store and make the combination into a meal while sticking to the $20 budget. 

Currently, we have 84 people enrolled over the two rounds of classes, with more still enrolling in the second set of sessions which will start in May. A huge THANK YOU to our partners at PNC Bank for making it possible to continue to offer this valuable education opportunity to the families we serve.