Updated: Oct 4
A Virginian-Pilot article by reporter Natalie Anderson
CHESAPEAKE — Chesapeake-based nonprofit ForKids will use a $50,000 grant to expand its cooking classes and to roll out a new meal prep kit program for families and children.
The grant comes from Indianapolis-based Elevance Health Foundation, which announced earlier this month it was providing almost $23 million in grants for programs across the U.S. that work to address food insecurity.
Through ForKids’ partnership with nonprofit Healthy Chesapeake, a professional chef will use the kitchen and a vegetable and fruit garden at ForKids’ Poindexter Street headquarters to cook healthy meals daily for families.
CEO Thaler McCormick said cooking classes have been limited, but the grant will allow the nonprofit to expand them and send meals home with children in the after-school program, which serves about 100 kids each evening. The ready-to-serve meals also will be transported to ForKids’ Suffolk location on West Constance Road.
The grant will also allow for a new meal kit program, providing children and families with the ingredients needed for one healthy lunch or dinner each day. McCormick said the nonprofit has found that eating healthy, nutritious food is often a challenge for families living in poverty and within food deserts. The hope with the meal kit program is that families can learn new, simple recipes to create healthy meals that even children can enjoy.
McCormick said the grant will help the nonprofit impact families long-term and those transitioning from using the center’s housing resources. ForKids expects to serve an estimated 350 parents and children with the meal kit program.
“This really gives us the capacity to use (the kitchen) to make a meaningful and deep impact on the families we serve,” she said.
ForKids was established in 1988 to serve families and children living in poverty across Hampton Roads and Virginia by providing them emergency shelter, homelessness services, educational programs and connections to employment.