WCMCA works to reduce the effects of poverty through a number of programs, from Head Start to fuel assistance. WCMCA understands how important relationships are in all these efforts; they have a deep understanding of the communities they serve.
Jill tells of a successful connection:
During one of the Cooking Smart classes, we had an older woman who was developmentally delayed and lived by herself. She was eager to learn new skills. When we shared that part of the menu would be making fresh salsa from scratch, she exclaimed, ‘Wouldn’t my family be impressed if I brought THAT to the next family dinner!’ As the class went on, she started sharing about the financial struggles she’d been having. West Central staff helped her fill out an application for SNAP, and got her information on a couple of local food shelves. Extension staff talked with her about how to safely store things she could get in bulk and some recipes that use inexpensive ingredients. At the end of the class, we sent her home with extra supplies and leftovers. It was a really wonderful experience for everyone involved.
“Working with the University of Minnesota Extension has been a wonderful partnership," Jill says. "Together, we share a mission: to reach out to households struggling to meet their basic food needs with potential resources and education in healthy and budget-friendly meal preparation. Extension staff have entertained with food preparation and sampling during mobile food drops, taught Cooking Smart cooking classes that West Central hosts, and created recipes, curricula, and great outreach materials for our shared work in SNAP Outreach and Education.”
For more information, visit West Central Minnesota Communities Action, Inc.