Fruit And Veg Class Food Rescue 2013Fri 20 Dec 2013
Story by Chef Cj
This summer I was asked to participate in a fruit and vegetable class with the American Boys and Girls Club in my town. It was my job as a Food Revolution Ambassador for Bowling Green Kentucky, to equip the Boys and Girls Club with the program and then have them teach a class to their members on their own. I took this responsibility very seriously and took it upon myself to take the reins of this journey and teach the class on my own.
It is tremendously important to me that the lessons are taught in detail and that each student would get to experience something they never did before. I also thought they might be willing to listen to a chef that they have never met more than the teachers that they see every day.
This whole experience has reached inside my soul and changed my culinary thought process in such a pivotal way. I never thought I would find such insightful things while on this journey but I did. The way I view food children and human kind’s relationship with food has changed forever.
The time before I began my speech and class with the children was filled with interviews from the local paper and news that I called so the event would have coverage and raise awareness for this cause. I rose bright and early the first day of my class and I spent that morning going over a speech remembering what I would say word for word. I had no idea what the day would bring, but I was excited to share all of my joyful knowledge with the kids.
The time had finally come I was before the children trying to give them a speech of things I memorized and to my surprise I was not able to get a word of it out. The room filled with questions, tons of questions about fruit, where it comes from, and which ones do we need to eat. The children had honest questions and genuinely wanted the answers. I did my best to answer everything and then we tasted the fruits. I had many students and had to do the class 5 times to talk to them all on a close one on one environment. I did not do 10 different classes but two classes with 5 fruits for the first one and five veggies for the next. When I offered to do the class, I was firm on two things: I asked the club to provide every student with some fruit to take home. I also dedicated myself to tasting everything with each class, so no one felt as though I was asking them to taste something I would never eat.
I was so overjoyed with the reaction of the students when they tried something they never had before. They all seemed to have a pleasant experience and for the ones that didn’t like whatever they tasted I explained that it was ok, but since they have tried it they will know without a doubt that they do not like that fruit. The second class went off without a hitch, I also talked about farm fresh eggs, and chicken that made it more intriguing because it was veggie day.
Being from a low-income family, I know firsthand how it is to grow up poor and to be the kid that lives off government assistance and food from food banks. There is no one that cares enough to teach poverty stricken families abut a healthy way of eating. I was informed from the department head of the club most of these kids go home to a bag of chips and that is all.
I was asked to add how powerful this program or programs like it would help? The one thing that strikes me the most was when I called my Boys and Girls club that same department head started crying almost to a point where I could not understand her. Her exact words were “I have been looking for help for so long, where have you been” I quickly answered I am here now let’s fix this, and we have been working ever since to do so. My work with the boys and girls club has not stopped and I want to thank you for the inspiration because I am now teaching cooking classes what I call I call survival-cooking skills. I teach them to cook with what they have because that is what low income families have they do not have an option to get more. I encourage everyone to get into a program in his or her area and keep the joy of real food alive.
About the author: Born and raised in Chicago Chef Cj moved to Kentucky for a more peaceful way of living. His dedication to a healthy way of living and passion for his fight against childhood obesity is by far one of the most enduring traits a human being can ever have. His mission is to heal the health of America one dinner plate and a time. In his words “I will not stop my journey for anyone or anything. I will succeed, and America will no longer be the most obese country out there, (this has to end)”.
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