Volunteer Spotlight: Nancy Powers
Nancy Powers volunteers with us as a culinary instructor in our Cooking Matters courses. She has impressed our team with her dedication to creating a fun and engaging learning experience for our participants and she always brings authenticity and creative humor that connects with our participants to help them make changes, big and small. “I’ve always loved that Nancy would share with no shame that she too was trying this food for the first time or would fearlessly demonstrate how to cut a new vegetable.” – Sally, Cooking Matters Program Coordinator. We here at Cooking Matters are grateful to have her be part of our volunteer team!
What brought you to Cooking Matters?
After retiring, I was looking for a hands on volunteer opportunity in my community. I wanted it to be food related because I have so many happy memories of preparing, cooking and eating delicious meals with my family and friends over the years and love the sense of community sitting around a table brings. A friend told me about her volunteer experience with Cooking Matters so I attended an orientation and the next thing I knew I was a culinary instructor!
The core mission of empowering low-income families with the skills to stretch their food budget struck a chord with me. I grew up in Dorchester and am one of six children. I watched as my parents “stretched a dollar” by tweaking recipes, shopping wisely, and being creative with foods on hand and thought I had something to offer the program even though I am not a trained chef.
Why have you continued to volunteer with Cooking Matters?
I am having so much fun and am learning constantly. I am fully supported in every way by Cooking Matters. The curricula is fantastic including the online videos. The recipes are easy and delicious and loved by the participants. In each of the three 6 week programs, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and learn from really wonderful, committed coordinators, volunteers, and staff at our non-profit partners. All of the participants have been eager to learn and willing to try new foods and recipes. Their enthusiasm is contagious and they always make me smile!
What is the impact Cooking Matters has had on your life?
The overall impact are the personal connections I have made even though some have been brief. I am also learning more about nutrition and as a result, am eating a healthier diet and trying new foods like tofu and fennel!
Any memorable moments?
I have truly enjoyed all of the moments but I particularly like the ones I share with the participants! My first class was with a group of adult women. Although we did not speak the same language, many of them would greet me at the beginning of class, smiling from ear to ear, to show me photos of what they cooked using the food and recipes from the week before! They were so excited to share their food experiences, especially how they were able to add veggies to their family meals without them knowing about it!