Be a Partner

What does it mean to be a Cooking Matters Partner?

When kids eat good food, they're stronger and healthier. But shopping and cooking healthy can be challenging, especially for parents struggling with limited resources.

Since 1994, the Cooking Matters campaign has worked to end hunger by helping families make healthy food choices. We know that every parent wants to raise healthy children, but it is so hard to feel sure that you are making the right choices when it comes to choosing and preparing nutritious food. Our program works with parents and other caregivers of young children to build their confidence at the grocery store, in the kitchen, and at the dinner table. Parents of very young kids, especially moms, are in a crucial position when it comes to their child’s eating habits and health. They make the vast majority of family food decisions, from shopping to meal prep, and are often the most open to making lasting changes toward a healthier lifestyle.

We often hear that families like those you serve struggle to stretch their food-buying dollars, or that they don’t have the time to make home-cooked meals, or that there is just too much information out there and it’s difficult to distinguish between solid advice and a trending topic. We serve families across the country through hands-on, six-week courses and one-time interactive grocery store tours.

That's where our partners come in. Cooking Matters Massachusetts collaborates with hundreds of community organizations throughout the state, such as Head Start centers, WIC clinics, and family resource centers.  Cooking Matters establishes relationships directly with partners across the state to offer these group education programs to their own clients. Cooking Matters is not an open access program, though occasionally we can work with multiple organizations to support referrals. Cooking Matters also does not have a central location where programming operates. We come to you—to your site’s parent conference room, to your local grocery store, to your staff kitchen and we lead programs in your community, where partners and participants feel most comfortable.


Six-Week Courses

Our longest-running and most comprehensive food skills program is our Cooking Matters Course. Each Course meets once a week for six consecutive weeks. The two-hour lessons involve participatory cooking as well as nutrition and budgeting conversations. The success of a Course involves a true team effort between Cooking Matters and our partners:

What Cooking Matters Offers

What a Partner Needs to Do

Provides a nationally-recognized, evidence-based curriculum

Recruit 10-16 SNAP-eligible individuals who will all make the six-week commitment to participate in the course, prioritizing parents-to-be and parents or caregivers of children aged 0 to 5

Creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere with trained staff and volunteers to work with participants

Designate a staff member to make reminder phone calls or send reminder texts each week to course participants

Brings all of the tools (knives, cutting boards, bowls, etc.) and materials (groceries) necessary to support the program

Reserve an appropriately-sized, dedicated space at their location with tables, chairs, electricity and hot, running water

Provides a bag of groceries each week for each participant to take home and put new ideas into practice

Arrange for an interpreter if the participants have language needs beyond English and Spanish (Cooking Matters has a limited number of Spanish-speaking team members who may be available to interpret)

Offers promotional materials and strategies for making participant recruitment easier

Develop a strategy for addressing the participants’ childcare needs

Provides additional incentives (e.g., measuring cups and spoons) for participants to reinforce the lessons

When possible, pay for a portion of the course costs (generally $500 to $1,000 per course)

 


Grocery Store Tours (In-store & Pop-up)

Sometimes a six-week course is not the best fit for our partners or their clients. That is why we also offer Cooking Matters at the Store Tours. This one-hour program is a condensed opportunity for caregivers of young children to practice ways to shop smarter. Cooking Matters at the Store Tours can take place either “Guided” at a local grocery store or in a “Pop-up” format on-site at the partner’s location. Like the Courses, the success of our Tours depends on collaboration with our partners:

What Cooking Matters Offers

What a Partner Needs to Do

Creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere with trained staff and volunteers to work with participants

Determine whether a Guided Tour or a Pop-up conversation works better for the people you serve (Cooking Matters does not provide transportation)

Provides incentives for participants, including a guidebook and a $10 grocery store gift card

Recruit an appropriate number of SNAP eligible individuals (9-12 participants for a Guided Tour and 12-20 participants for a Pop-up Tour)

 

Prioritize the recruitment of parents-to-be and parents or caregivers of children aged 0 to 5

 

Arrange for an interpreter if the participants have language needs beyond English and Spanish (Cooking Matters has a limited number of Spanish-speaking team members who may be available to interpret)

 

Identify and reserve an appropriate space (at least one table and enough chairs for all participants) at the location, if a pop-up is deemed to be the preferred method

 

Provide an accurate head count the day before the program

 

 Still have questions? Visit our FAQ page.

 

Be a Partner

What does it mean to be a Cooking Matters Partner?

When kids eat good food, they're stronger and healthier. But shopping and cooking healthy can be challenging, especially for parents struggling with limited resources.

Since 1994, the Cooking Matters campaign has worked to end hunger by helping families make healthy food choices. We know that every parent wants to raise healthy children, but it is so hard to feel sure that you are making the right choices when it comes to choosing and preparing nutritious food. Our program works with parents and other caregivers of young children to build their confidence at the grocery store, in the kitchen, and at the dinner table. Parents of very young kids, especially moms, are in a crucial position when it comes to their child’s eating habits and health. They make the vast majority of family food decisions, from shopping to meal prep, and are often the most open to making lasting changes toward a healthier lifestyle.

We often hear that families like those you serve struggle to stretch their food-buying dollars, or that they don’t have the time to make home-cooked meals, or that there is just too much information out there and it’s difficult to distinguish between solid advice and a trending topic. We serve families across the country through hands-on, six-week courses and one-time interactive grocery store tours.

That's where our partners come in. Cooking Matters Massachusetts collaborates with hundreds of community organizations throughout the state, such as Head Start centers, WIC clinics, and family resource centers.  Cooking Matters establishes relationships directly with partners across the state to offer these group education programs to their own clients. Cooking Matters is not an open access program, though occasionally we can work with multiple organizations to support referrals. Cooking Matters also does not have a central location where programming operates. We come to you—to your site’s parent conference room, to your local grocery store, to your staff kitchen and we lead programs in your community, where partners and participants feel most comfortable.


Six-Week Courses

Our longest-running and most comprehensive food skills program is our Cooking Matters Course. Each Course meets once a week for six consecutive weeks. The two-hour lessons involve participatory cooking as well as nutrition and budgeting conversations. The success of a Course involves a true team effort between Cooking Matters and our partners:

What Cooking Matters Offers

What a Partner Needs to Do

Provides a nationally-recognized, evidence-based curriculum

Recruit 10-16 SNAP-eligible individuals who will all make the six-week commitment to participate in the course, prioritizing parents-to-be and parents or caregivers of children aged 0 to 5

Creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere with trained staff and volunteers to work with participants

Designate a staff member to make reminder phone calls or send reminder texts each week to course participants

Brings all of the tools (knives, cutting boards, bowls, etc.) and materials (groceries) necessary to support the program

Reserve an appropriately-sized, dedicated space at their location with tables, chairs, electricity and hot, running water

Provides a bag of groceries each week for each participant to take home and put new ideas into practice

Arrange for an interpreter if the participants have language needs beyond English and Spanish (Cooking Matters has a limited number of Spanish-speaking team members who may be available to interpret)

Offers promotional materials and strategies for making participant recruitment easier

Develop a strategy for addressing the participants’ childcare needs

Provides additional incentives (e.g., measuring cups and spoons) for participants to reinforce the lessons

When possible, pay for a portion of the course costs (generally $500 to $1,000 per course)

 


Grocery Store Tours (In-store & Pop-up)

Sometimes a six-week course is not the best fit for our partners or their clients. That is why we also offer Cooking Matters at the Store Tours. This one-hour program is a condensed opportunity for caregivers of young children to practice ways to shop smarter. Cooking Matters at the Store Tours can take place either “Guided” at a local grocery store or in a “Pop-up” format on-site at the partner’s location. Like the Courses, the success of our Tours depends on collaboration with our partners:

What Cooking Matters Offers

What a Partner Needs to Do

Creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere with trained staff and volunteers to work with participants

Determine whether a Guided Tour or a Pop-up conversation works better for the people you serve (Cooking Matters does not provide transportation)

Provides incentives for participants, including a guidebook and a $10 grocery store gift card

Recruit an appropriate number of SNAP eligible individuals (9-12 participants for a Guided Tour and 12-20 participants for a Pop-up Tour)

 

Prioritize the recruitment of parents-to-be and parents or caregivers of children aged 0 to 5

 

Arrange for an interpreter if the participants have language needs beyond English and Spanish (Cooking Matters has a limited number of Spanish-speaking team members who may be available to interpret)

 

Identify and reserve an appropriate space (at least one table and enough chairs for all participants) at the location, if a pop-up is deemed to be the preferred method

 

Provide an accurate head count the day before the program

 

 Still have questions? Visit our FAQ page.

 
383 Dorchester Ave. Suite 230 Boston, MA 02127