Sunday Suppers won a $500 grant at Stake #3, July 17, 2011

1. Describe the project a STAKE Grant would help you accomplish (approx. 100 words): Sunday Suppers is an innovative community based program in the nation’s fourth hungriest Congressional District. Families have limited access to fresh food and few have family meals. Moving beyond access, we create a comfortable space where families sit around their own table, with phones and games off, to try fresh, healthy foods and talk. They leave with enough fresh ingredients and recipes for another meal at home, but many lack the skills or confidence to prepare the meal. As a result, they revert to familiar habits that cause obesity and the spectrum of diet-related pathologies that afflict low income areas.

2. How will you use the grant toward the realization of your project? $750 is your imaginary budget (50 words):
The Stake grant will support the production of a video, the link between the Sunday supper and home meals. It will demonstrate basic cooking skills, how to select fresh healthy foods, and how to cook. The video will feature program and community families and will be culturally relevant, bilingual and simple to follow.

3. A little about yourself and what led you to your current creative goals. This may include a previous project of yours, ways it both succeeded and failed (this can be entirely unrelated to your proposal) (100 words): I have been cooking since I was 10 and was fortunate to always have enough to eat and have regular family meals. This past November I read the series “A Portrait of Hunger” in the Philadelphia Inquirer and was deeply affected by the personal stories of mothers not eating so they could feed their children, families running out of food and money by month’s end. The idea of Sunday Suppers came to me in that moment. I knew that with my background as a restaurant chef and in non-profit program development, I could make a difference…one meal and one family at a time.

4. Why is this project important? How will it benefit the community? (100 words): Family meals make a difference: they reduce the risk for substance abuse, promote language development, improve academic achievement, enhance positive behavioral outcomes, and reduce childhood obesity. With the video as the link, Sunday Suppers will promote community and give families the skills and confidence to build on their positive Sunday Suppers experience to start having healthy family meals at home. This will help families begin to make lasting changes in the way they buy, prepare and share food. We will encourage participants to share their Sunday Supper experience with their neighbors to expand adaptation of the program to whole communities.