Nourishing USA reaches out to vulnerable communities


Nourishing USAOne of the greatest strengths of Nourishing USA, our current Poverty & Health beneficiary, is that their work with food goes well beyond the norm of soup kitchens and food programs. They are passionate about using food and nutrition as a means to teach sustainable skills, build communities, reach vulnerable groups, and provide therapeutic and fun activities.

Nourishing USA chicken curryA perfect example of the extent of their food-related outreach is the GEMS cooking club. GEMS (Girls’ Education and Mentoring Services) is an organization based in New York state that aims to help girls and women exploited in the sex trade, providing a way for them to exit the trade, learn skills, and receive counseling. The Nourishing USA GEMS cooking club is partly therapeutic, recreational, and confidence-building, but also provides lessons in an important skill, as well as nutrition education. The foods created, from chicken curries to strawberries-and-cream tortillas, are healthy takes on well-loved foods, using substitute ingredients such as whole-wheat flour to boost nutritional values. In addition to the cooking classes, Nourishing USA has donated ingredients and equipment for the GEMS women to recreate the dishes they have learned to make.

Nourishing USA classA similar outreach program is the Junior Chef Class, aimed at a much younger group. Odyssey House in Harlem provides services ranging from mental health and dental treatment to educational vocational services to vulnerable families in the community, and Nourishing USA is contributing to their outreach by offering nutrition-based cooking classes at the center, for children aged 3 to 4. The children help to create healthy meals and then enthusiastically help to eat the delicious food, all the while learning basic information about nutrition and kitchen safety.

These classes help to fulfill Nourishing USA’s mandate to Feed, Educate, and Advocate, while offering enjoyable, confidence-building activities for vulnerable groups.