While a couple was volunteering at Gleaners’ Hamilton County Cupboard one day, they noticed something concerning: many shoppers were not taking the nutritious rice or dried beans being offered in the pantry because they simply did not know how to prepare these foods.
These volunteers wanted to do something to help. They reached out to Gleaners staff to donate and deliver 75 rice cookers that could be given to clients. Our Nutrition Manager, Pantry Manager, and Assistant Pantry Manager worked together to plan a 30-minute demo that would teach shoppers how to use a rice cooker to prepare beans, rice, and other nutritious foods from the pantry.
Nutrition Manager Sarah Huber, RDN, showed pantry shoppers
how to prepare healthy recipes with a rice cooker - samples included!
On February 10th, 30 clients packed the waiting area of the Hamilton County Cupboard to attend the rice cooker demo. Some had been excitedly looking forward to the session for weeks, and others were surprised to learn about it as they walked through the door. However, all of the attendees seemed very engaged in the topic, and many expressed their delight at being able to take home their very own rice cooker at the end.
After attending the class and finishing her pantry shopping, one woman stopped on her way out the door. Gesturing toward her new rice cooker atop a cart full of food, she said, “This was very interesting, thank you for taking the time to teach us. Come back again soon!”
Gleaners plans to use the remaining donated rice cookers as incentives for Cooking Matters participants (a program in partnership with Indy Hunger Network) and to potentially host another rice cooker demo in the future. We are grateful to these kind volunteers for their creative and generous donation – thank you for helping us serve our neighbors’ needs with more than just food!
Click here to view the rice cooker recipes that were shared with pantry shoppers.
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Sarah Wilson, RDN, Nutrition Manager at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, along with guest blog posts by dietetic interns