2019 was the third year that C.H.O.I.C.E.S. has been a Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation Neighborhood Grant recipient, receiving $5,000 each year for their efforts, specifically for the Cooking with C.H.O.I.C.E.S. program. This program operates year-round, teaching participants in three-week courses and providing grocery store learning tours to maintain the education for program graduates. Cooking with C.H.O.I.C.E.S. provides family style cooking classes with a preference for families enrolled in WIC or SNAP food programs. The program teaches children and parents five basic nutrition education concepts with take-home tip sheets, and participants learn the culinary skills needed in order to prepare nutrient dense food at home. The program also strives to teach families how to stretch limited food budgets by planning snacks and meals in advance, with field trips to help families learn how to utilize farmers markets and shop at grocery stores.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, C.H.O.I.C.E.S. has moved its programs online using Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, and YouTube to post educational videos and fun facts about food, and to keep people engaged while staying home. The nonprofit plans to have a motivational speaker or life coach participating each week in their new series of live video cooking classes called Pantry Talks, which features family friendly recipes with Chef Ashley Keyes. According to Kenya Heard, the Program and Development Director with C.H.O.I.C.E.S., “What makes our approach unique is that we use Zoom and Facebook live so that we can take questions and share ideas from the viewers in real time.” Their Pantry Talks videos remain on Facebook each week and are also available on the C.H.O.I.C.E.S. YouTube Channel.
C.H.O.I.C.E.S. strives to inspire positive change in their community, and since the outbreak of COVID-19, they have been working even harder to ensure families have the support they need to make healthy choices and feel empowered during these difficult times. The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation is proud to partner with C.H.O.I.C.E.S. to support the communities we serve.