(from l) Interior Savings Credit Union’s Ashcroft Branch Manager Karma Kubbernus with Executive Director Trish Schachtel and Family Support Worker Sherry Anderson of the South Cariboo E. Fry Society. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

(from l) Interior Savings Credit Union’s Ashcroft Branch Manager Karma Kubbernus with Executive Director Trish Schachtel and Family Support Worker Sherry Anderson of the South Cariboo E. Fry Society. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

E. Fry Society starting new ‘Connect Through Cooking’ program

Thanks to a donation from Interior Savings, the free program will be starting this month

The South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society (SCEFS) is about to launch a new program called “Connecting Through Cooking”, thanks to a $5,000 donation from Interior Savings’ Community Investment Fund.

The cooking workshops are part of the Food Skills for Families program designed by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). It’s a fun, hands-on food skills program that teaches participants how to cook nutritious, delicious meals in a relaxed, supportive environment. During the six-week session, participants learn how to plan meals, shop, and create nutritious food in a supportive group environment. In addition, SCEFS will be facilitating canning workshops to maximize the abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit through the summer and into the fall.

“The board and staff did a strategic plan a year ago, and we talked about food security,” says SCEFS Executive Director Trish Schachtel. “Instead of just doing the food bank and the public garden, we wanted to do more. What with the pandemic, and the chaos of supply and demand, we wanted to find something that was a fit.

“When we found this program it made sense, and could be an extension of the work we do, giving people a hand up. Teaching them how to prepare healthy, nutritious food on a budget made sense. Being in a rural area we sometimes have an abundance, and then we don’t, so it fit in with what we were doing around food security.”

Schachtel says that while the BCCDC will supply groceries and workbooks, the Interior Savings Community Investment Fund gave them the money to buy the kitchen supplies they needed.

“We had started to put together stuff from the thrift store, but it’s nice to start the program with brand new pots, induction plates that work, and other things. Now that we have the tools to run it, we have endless funding for groceries and workbooks, and staff for whom that is part of the job. Interior Savings’ short-term investment is going to be long-term, since we can run the program for years. It’s a perfect fit.”

“It is such an honour to present funds from our Community Investment Fund to the South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society,” says Interior Savings Credit Union’s Karma Kubbernus, the Ashcroft branch manager.

“The Interior Savings Community Investment Fund in an amazing program that offers one-time financial support to help launch sustainable programs that empower people in our communities. It is amazing to have the opportunity to support local, and partner with such a caring organization that does so much for our community.”

Sherry Anderson, a family support worker with SCEFS, will be taking on the program as part of her role and job.

“Within our agency we have a pretty large caseload,” says Schachtel, adding that there is a lot of flexibility within the program, which can be tailored to the unique needs of different groups. The first six-week course, scheduled to start on Feb. 17, is for seniors, but future courses could be for moms and babies, moms with tweens and/or teens, or any other group that could benefit.

“We want to develop a rapport and a relationship with people, as well as work on the program. The first group is people who we already know in the community, and we’ll be looking to some of our food bank clients. We already have a list of interested people, and we’ll be doing some advertising to see who’s interested.

“It’s all about how to stretch that dollar and eat healthy, learn how to read the nutritional labels on groceries, so the program can be adapted to whoever we’re hosting, whether it’s one senior or a family, where we can look at larger-batch cooking to feed a family on a set income.”

Schachtel says that the society is excited to be able to offer the program, which — thanks to the Ashcroft/Cache Creek Seniors — will be taking place in the seniors’ centre at 601 Bancroft Street in Ashcroft.

“As food costs go up we can offer advice and give people some options,” she says. “The only hurdle for us was the price of having to buy all those tools and what we needed for the food preparation. Interior Savings had the Community Investment Fund, and we applied and were successful, as we were really fortunate.

“The South Cariboo E. Fry Society and Interior Savings have hosted Soup’s On together. They see the need, and have been helping with food security in the community already. This brings our two organizations together, and things are always better when we collaborate.”

For more information on the “Connecting Through Cooking” program, and how to take part, call Sherry at (250) 453-9656.


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