Who We Are
Cooking Matters runs programs with Colorado parents and caregivers that cover how to shop for and cook healthy, kid-friendly, and affordable meals.
Cooking Matters is a campaign of Share Our Strength that helps end childhood hunger by inspiring families to make healthy, affordable food choices. Our goal is for all parents and caregivers to have the skills they need to regularly serve nutritious foods during pregnancy and to kids through age five. Working with partners on the Western Slope to the Eastern Plains of CO, and many places in between, our team delivers programming throughout the state. Our programs take place at Head Start programs, health centers, community centers, shelters & transitional homes, community food distribution sites and schools. Cooking Matters Colorado leverages a direct education model to influence food systems and food environments that support healthy eating at a community-wide level. Through initiatives like Double Up Food Bucks, a Healthy Food Pantry Resource Guide and food retailer partnerships, we increase access to healthy foods for all Coloradans.
We run our programs with parents and caregivers, especially those with young children ages 0-5. We see the caregivers we work with as experts in their own lives and value their insights.
We learn from them as much as they learn from us.
“I am now more aware. I love that I can do these recipes with my kids. I feel great knowing what’s good to buy at the grocery stores. It’s a big step in the right direction for my family and myself. I feel motivated to be healthy and involve my kids. I’m sad to have the course end, but I’m happy to take with me so much knowledge.”
– Madeline, Cooking Matters Graduate
Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going
Cooking Matters began serving the Denver Metro area in 1994 and now works across the entire state of Colorado. Since 1994, we’ve reached over 100,000 participants in Colorado through our food skills education programs.
For many years, we brought our specialized six-week curricula – for Adults, Parents, and Families – in-person at community-based organizations and with the assistance of community volunteer culinary and nutrition instructors. We also offered our Cooking Matters at the Store program, which teaches adults, mostly parents, how to get the most nutrition for their food dollars, in-person at community-based organizations or local grocery stores and Cooking Matters for Childcare Professionals which addresses the specific needs of child care providers who serve young children.
With the increased safety concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, our approach to programming had to shift. For some time we were unable to offer our in-person programming. Also, while our community volunteers have been a valued part of our programs since Cooking Matters’ inception, we have also paused all volunteer opportunities for the foreseeable future.
Since the Spring of 2019, we have introduced newer, flexible programs, offered online or in-person. These programs still focus on the food skills listed above, but are topic-based and tailored to community-based organizations and parents’ needs. We also continue to offer our Cooking Matters at the Store program online and in-person.
While these changes have altered the Cooking Matters experience, we have noted that offering online opportunities helps caregivers by taking away the need for them to find childcare, transportation, and the extra time to attend a six-week class. Caregivers also get the chance, in some cases, to cook alongside one of our staff facilitators in their own home, using their own tools and space.
Childhood Hunger in CO
Our sister campaign, No Kid Hungry, is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting kids in need with nutritious food. No Kid Hungry partners with organizations across the country to help refine their strategies to reach more kids; provide grants to hire staff or purchase things like trucks or refrigerators; or provide technical experts who can help local leaders analyze data and develop new approaches. No Kid Hungry has recently started collaborating with partners to expand the Child and Adult Food Care Programs. Here are some ways you can engage with the No Kid Hungry Campaign:
- Fundraise with No Kid Hungry
- Donate to No Kid Hungry
- Other ways to help