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News Section: Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight: All Faiths Food Bank’s “Cooking Matters” Teaches Kids Healthy Habits

Published Saturday, April 12, 2014
Breanna Castleberry and her daughter, Breyelle

SARASOTA – Healthy is a hit! On Saturday, April 5, 2014 families and groups of local students visited Hazeltine Nurseries in Venice for a special Cooking Matters event presented by All Faiths Food Bank. Stopping at stations for some hands-on, nutritious food preparation, kids and adults alike enjoyed making their own trail mix, fresh berry yogurt parfait, and flavored water. Volunteers helped man each station including a “get moving” area and a coloring contest.


Students from more than a dozen Sarasota County elementary schools took part in the first All Faiths Food Bank Cooking Matters event.


A partnership with Hazeltine Nurseries, the Cooking Matters program is a fun, informative, hands-on cooking class for kids and adults. Program coordinator Nancy Pantano presents this 6-week nutrition education program throughout Sarasota County, year round, and has incorporated key program components into this event.


The Cooking Matters event is a part of All Faiths Food Bank's 40-day “Campaign Against Summer Hunger” which began on April 1, 2014 and will wrap up on May 10, 2014. The purpose of the campaign is to help feed the 21,000 Sarasota County students (50%) on free and reduced lunch, as those kids, along with their siblings and families, may go without regular meals during the summer.


“We want to highlight the importance of cooking and a healthy lifestyle, and we want our kids to be excited and get involved in the process,” said All Faiths Food Bank CEO Sandra Frank. “Our goal is to plan creative and educational events, reach out to generous community supporters, and really go above and beyond so that we can feed these children and continue to raise awareness about this very real problem in our community.”


The event took place at Hazeltine Nurseries at 2401 N. River Road in Venice, and students from the following schools attended the event: Venice Elementary, Garden Elementary, Taylor Ranch Elementary, Pineview School, Venice Nokomis United Preschool, Grace United Methodist Preschool, St Mark’s Episcopal Preschool, Epiphany Catholic School, Venice Christian School, Church of the Nazarene Preschool, Laurel Nokomis School, European Academy.


For more information about the Campaign, to donate, or learn about the many special events planned, visit Nonperishable food donations may be dropped off at any Sarasota County Goodwill or Fire Station.


About All Faiths Food Bank


All Faiths Food Bank is a member of Feeding America and the hub of the hunger-relief system in DeSoto and Sarasota counties. Last year, All Faiths Food Bank distributed 7 million pounds of food equating to 5.8 million meals through 195 pantries, soup kitchens, churches, community centers, schools, and programs. Its mission is to feed those in need and educate the community about hunger and nutrition. For more information call 941-379-6333 or visit

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