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Warming Up to Good Food

Thanks to your donations and Community Food Centres Canada, FoodFit is helping people learn how to cook and budget for healthy food.

Ian and Jessie standing together smiling in the kitchen wearing Mission Services' aprons

Since joining Mission Services’ FoodFit, Ian and Jessie have developed a love for cooking healthy food. The program helps people – especially folks living on a low-income – learn cooking skills and achieve their personal fitness goals.

After finishing his plate of whole-grain pasta casserole, topped with chicken breast and cheddar cheese, Ian leans back and sums up what everyone else around the table is thinking: “This was a fantastic dinner – and it doesn’t take very long to make!”

Ian is one of several participants in Mission Services of Hamilton’s fall FoodFit session. The program teaches people healthy cooking skills and supports them as they work on their personal fitness goals – whether it’s trying aerobics for the first time, or simply getting out and walking more. It is supported by Community Food Centres Canada and by donations from the community.

As a child, Ian was diagnosed with mild fetal alcohol syndrome. He lived in foster homes from age 9 until 21. He knows how to budget and live independently, but as he says: “Food is expensive nowadays.”

Jessie, a retired Personal Social Services Worker, also comes to FoodFit. She never cooked much at home while she was working and she misses the socializing part of her job. “Poverty creates barriers between people,” Jessie says, “but sitting down and enjoying a meal can bring any two people together.”

Jessie and Ian sitting at a table together after eating dinner, smiling

Before coming to FoodFit, both Ian and Jessie would describe their cooking experience as nil. But now they know their way around the kitchen like they grew up in one. For Ian, the first recipe they tried in the class that got him excited about cooking was a warm potato salad. “That really warmed me up to salad!” he says with a laugh.