Nutrition instructor Magie Young helped start Cooking Matters at the Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston, S.C. Since then, anytime she is asked to take on a role, she jumps right in to help. In 2013, she won Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters Volunteer of the Year Award.
One of the greatest things about Cooking Matters is its flexibility, Magie says. Rarely do classes take place in a traditional kitchen. Frequently, class is held in a community room, which only has a sink, so Magie and team bring a portable kitchen to class. While this may seem like a less than perfect situation for teaching people how to cook, it really is ideal since participants may be living in temporary or transitional housing without access to a traditional kitchen.
As a Cooking Matters volunteer, it’s rewarding for Magie to watch participants’ confidence in their nutrition and cooking skills increase week after week. She is always amazed at the kids’ willingness to try new and unfamiliar foods such as jícama, quinoa, and asparagus. In many of the families courses she’s taught, it is often the kids encouraging their parent or guardian to try new things.
Magie sees priceless rewards for doing something she really enjoys. She’ll always delight in seeing the joy on peoples’ faces when they are able to purchase the ingredients to make one or two healthy meals for their family with $10 or less or when a parent tells her their child is reading ingredient labels and no longer selecting sugary cereal. She’s grateful to share her passion for food, cooking, and nutrition with others through Cooking Matters.