Could you eat healthy on $5 or less per day? 42 million Americans are trying to do so. They are receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, and approximately half of them or 21 million, are children. Studies have shown that poverty, hunger, and obesity are often linked due to a host of factors including the limited money, time, and choices that low-income people often have. With one in three children overweight in America and the cost of childhood obesity over a lifetime at $20,000 in comparison to a child of average weight, we must urgently address these challenges. While emergency food assistance is crucial, long-term change has never been affected by handing out canned green beans and boxes of cereal. In order to disentangle the relationship between poverty and obesity and other chronic disease, we must provide the knowledge and skills to change purchasing habits and food choices.

Our evaluations show that graduates make healthier food purchasing decisions, both with their families and individually, eat dinner with their families more, and initiate cooking in their homes. As an added benefit, eating together as a family has been proven to reduce involvement in crime.

Students practice math, science, and team-building skills. They are analyzing budgets, experimenting with ingredients, and learning how to properly handle kitchen equipment. Recipes break down costs and measurements, giving real life application to arithmetic and volume lessons. We have graduated over 160 students which we estimate could result in almost half a million dollars in reduced healthcare costs over a lifetime.