During the last few years of pandemic time, Solid Ground’s Community Food Education (CFE) had to greatly reduce the number of classes in its very popular Cooking Matters program, which teaches people living on low incomes how to cook healthy food on a budget. It’s been a hit among RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) and Solid Ground volunteers alike for many years, and we’re excited to announce its return to in-person classes this year.
We’d especially like to thank and highlight three RSVP volunteers who’ve dedicated their time, talents, and experience to Cooking Matters: Arlene Hing-Loh, Peggy Keene, and Beverly Pressey.
Arlene Hing-Loh, who has a Master’s in microbiology and experience as a medical lab tech, came to Cooking Matters in 2019 as a Class Assistant. She enjoys setting up for class, helping participants with questions during class, teaching chopping techniques, and cleaning up the space after class ends. Inspired by a strong sense of community involvement, Arlene loves teaching, tutoring, and interacting with kids, including her own, as well as cooking – especially curry dishes.
As CFE Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Shana McCann says, “Arlene has been a wonderful volunteer in both our in-person and virtual classes. She’s been incredibly engaging, especially so in a class with teens, sharing cooking information in an accessible way!”
Peggy Keene also started volunteering in 2019 as a Cooking Matters Class Assistant at the Pike Place Commons. She quickly took on the Cooking Facilitator role, frequently testing recipes used in class in her own kitchen before helping to teach them in class.
She also has her own garden where she grows herbs, adding a personal spice to the healthy recipes in the Cooking Matters curriculum.
Shana says, “Peggy always goes above and beyond in classes, teaching participants how to make pesto, guacamole, and homemade popcorn! Her passion for cooking is contagious, and she’s even brought in herbs from her own garden! We’re so thankful to have her as a volunteer.”
Beverly Pressey, a registered dietician, originally came to Cooking Matters hoping to fill the volunteer role of Nutrition Facilitator in 2021. The program was on hold due to public health concerns, so she started volunteering at Marra Farm as a Giving Gardener instead.
In October of 2022, she became a Cooking Matters Cooking Facilitator, teaching both virtual and in-person classes. Shana says, “We’re thankful to have Beverly volunteering with us. She’s incredibly dedicated, coming to Marra Farm every Friday for the past two years, and we appreciate her expertise as a registered dietician in our Cooking Matters classes! She’s skilled at bringing an approachable lens to nutrition education, and we’re so happy to have her.”
We really appreciate the passion and dedication of these three Cooking Matters volunteers, and we’re excited about the reopening of in-person classes! Visit Solid Ground’s Volunteer webpage to view all CFE volunteer position descriptions.
About RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program)
- RSVP is an AmeriCorps Seniors program that engages people age 55 and older in a diverse range of volunteer activities. Sponsored locally by Solid Ground, we match RSVP volunteers with opportunities to meet community needs at approximately 40 partner organizations.
- EIA (Experience in Action) is RSVP’s member newsletter, printed three times a year.
- This piece appears in SUMMER 2023: Nonprofits build healthy communities.
- Are you 55+ and want to get involved? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org!