Hilary, one of Cambridge City Foodbank’s wonderful volunteers, has also been busy running an online cookery programme for families in need in Cambridge, with the Red Hen Project.
Through the programme, each week, for six weeks, 10 families in North Cambridge receive a bag with all of the ingredients they need to cook one recipe. Most of the food is made up of Foodbank donations, as well as fresh vegetables which are kindly donated by the Cambridge Fruit Company.
Alongside a laminated recipe card, families receive a link to a video of Hilary demonstrating how to cook the recipe. Families are also part of a Red Hen Project WhatsApp group, where they are encouraged to share comments and photos and to ask Hilary questions.
Before the COVID-19 lockdown, the Red Hen Project ran face-to-face cookery groups in schools for around six to eight parents. While the courses were very valuable, they were only beneficial for those that could regularly attend, which can be difficult for a lot of families. Lockdown was a challenge, but Hilary and her team put their heads together and came up with the online solution and it has worked incredibly well.
Hilary shares: “Parents feel part of the group and share lovely pictures, mostly of the children cooking the food! It really has changed some lives. I’ve received many wonderful comments from families, such as: “My son wouldn’t eat normal food before but now he cooks with me he eats it all!”; “I used to buy jars of pasta sauce but now I make my own I save money”; “We used to get a takeaway curry but now everyone likes the one we make so we have that instead” and “I spend time with my daughter now and we can talk when we cook”.”
The Red Hen Project rolls out a six-week course roughly every school term. Hilary says she would love to extend the project, perhaps to other areas of Cambridge or other groups of people in the future.
All of the material is available online via the Red Hen Project website and can be accessed by anyone anywhere – so feel free to have look!