Cooking Matters is a Solid Ground Community Food Education program providing 6-week class series on healthy cooking skills, nutrition education, and food budgeting for people living on low incomes. With multiple host sites, Cooking Matters effectively brings the necessary training to interested volunteers.
Each class is planned and supported by three trained volunteers – a cooking facilitator, a nutritionist, and an assistant. Before each class, the teacher sends an email to their team describing what will happen. Each class has a theme (e.g., meats and fats, dairy, vegetables), and together, volunteers and students prepare a meal, develop cooking skills, and learn about nutrition in the process. Classes are designed to be fun, interactive, and informative. Hygiene is stressed throughout.
As of this writing, Arlene Hing-Loh is in the midst of her first assignment as a Cooking Matters Class Assistant, and she’s loving it! Her chores include setup, helping participants (e.g., safe chopping techniques), and cleanup. For Arlene, the classes get better and better as she gets to know both her teammates and the participants.
Born in Guyana, Arlene and her family moved to the US for school when she was 16. She earned an undergraduate degree to be a medical lab tech and a Master’s degree in Microbiology.
Family is important to Arlene, and family is what brought Arlene and her family to the Seattle area. She has one sister, three brothers, and their families in the area – and though they’re all busy, they find time to get together for special occasions, like Thanksgiving.
Married with two children (girls), Arlene inaccurately describes herself as a “stay-at-home mom.” She didn’t exactly stay at home while her kids were in school, though. She got involved with the school system as a tutor and later as a teacher’s assistant. She “loves” teaching and tutoring, especially kids, and her reward is the thrill of watching the lightbulb of understanding shine on the faces of students she tutors. She calls it “watching someone learn” in real time.
Arlene tutored reading and math at the elementary level and worked as a music TA at the middle school level. Arlene loves music and enjoys playing guitar, piano, and ukulele, but is “too shy” to perform.
Arlene loves to cook (especially curry dishes), hikes in the summer, cross country skis in the winter, maintains a flower and vegetable garden, and reads, mainly nonfiction (she last read Michele Obama’s book Becoming, which she loved).
Motivated by a strong sense of community participation, Arlene also feels great personal joy when she makes people she’s working with happy and successful, and she’s grateful for the opportunity to do so.
For more info on volunteering with Cooking Matters, please contact Megan Wildhood at email@example.com.
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