by Sarah Burch
I started at the Inter Faith Food Shuttle two weeks ago, taking over from Morgan Medders as the new Americorps VISTA. It quickly became apparent that things don’t stay the same for long around here! Case in point – I found out yesterday that the name of my program has changed. Good bye “Shopping Matters.” Hello “Cooking Matters at the Store!”
I am thrilled to be a part of such a dynamic work environment. Even though at times I’ve felt like one of those characters in a movie who moves in slow motion while the rest of the world rushes past her. I have scrambled to keep up with all that’s going on around me, plumbing the depths of our coolers and warehouse in search of ingredients, heading out to Wendell to assist at a Cooking Matters class, attending mobile markets in Benson and Durham to recruit participants for upcoming grocery tours, and finally running my first Shopping Matters, sorry, Cooking Matters at the Store tour from start to finish.
What has struck me the most over the past two weeks is how much food connects us all. Food connects us at the hub. We raid the warehouse for cans of corn, beans and tomatoes we can use in our cooking classes. Food connects us to our community. We reach out to those agencies and organizations that can benefit from our programs, and who share our mission of feeding the hungry. Last but not least, food connects us with the people we are trying to help. The most rewarding part of my job so far has without doubt been leading a grocery shopping tour in Durham: sharing nutritional advice with participants, reading a food label together, identifying whole grains and looking at unit prices. We even shared recipes. One participant had made a coating for fish with nuts and breadcrumbs. Doesn’t that sound good? And today my co-worker shared how everyone signed her instructor guide at the graduation class for her Cooking Matters course. See what I mean? Food connects us all. I can’t wait for what’s ahead of me this year, but please, don’t change the name again!