Meals of Hope Healthy Crock Pot demo arms Immokalee families

Posted 2/28/20

(Submitted photo) Andrea Zubia, Marley Ramirez, Jayden and Jazmine Balleza. NAPLES – Meals of Hope, the largest food pantry provider in Southwest Florida, held a healthy crock pot cooking event to …

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Meals of Hope Healthy Crock Pot demo arms Immokalee families

Posted
(Submitted photo) Andrea Zubia, Marley Ramirez, Jayden and Jazmine Balleza.

NAPLES – Meals of Hope, the largest food pantry provider in Southwest Florida, held a healthy crock pot cooking event to arm 40 Immokalee families with the tools they need to prepare nutritious meals safely and easily in their own homes.

In partnership with Immokalee Technical College Culinary Arts Department and the Southwest Florida Blue Zones Project, Meals of Hope gave families affiliated with Pathways Early Education Center of Immokalee, Guadalupe Center and Farmworkers Village a demonstration of how to prepare nutritious meals with the fresh and frozen ingredients they receive from Meals of Hope’s mobile food pantries.

Each of the participating families received a programmable crock pot after the event to replicate the meals at home using the recipes developed by iTech’s Chef Terrie “T” Thompson.

Steve Popper, President and CEO of Meals of Hope, realized food pantry patrons weren’t using all the fresh produce and frozen meat they were receiving from the mobile food pantries.

“Not only do we want to help feed those in need, but we want to help establish healthy eating habits for families,” said Popper. “Our goal is to link it all together.”

He said the event was designed to help families learn how to replace some of the fast food they might be buying with easy to prepare meals they can set up in the morning and have ready when they return home from work at the end of the day.

Popper said Meals of Hope will be offering three similar events later this year.

iTECH Director Dorin Oxender said Chef Thompson worked together with students enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program to create easy recipes for families to follow

“We wanted to design a few simple and delicious recipes that could be replicated easily,” said Oxender. “We also worked with the Southwest Florida Blue Zones project to incorporate their healthy eating principles.”

“The crock pot is a great approach to getting kids to eat healthy,” said Joe Stoner, schools lead for the Southwest Florida Blue Zones project. “It can replace the easy thing they might get from the convenience store.”

Meals of Hope provides a total of 14 food pantries – including eight mobile pantries – throughout Collier and Lee Counties to distribute fresh and nutritious food to approximately 1,200 families, seniors and veterans each week. Additional services and summer meal programs serve more than 10,000 Southwest Florida residents each month.

With the help of more than 25,000 volunteers, Meals of Hope packed more than 10 million meals in 2019 at events in Southwest Florida and throughout the United States.

As a partner agency with the Harry Chapin Food Bank, Meals of Hope distributes more than 2 million pounds of food each year as it fulfills its mission of inspiring and empowering communities to come together to end hunger. Established in 2007, Meals of Hope is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization.

To learn more, visit www.mealsofhope.org or call 239-537-7775.

crockpot, featured, meals-of-hope, www-mealsofhope-org

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