WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A new program hopes to bring families together at the dinner table while combating food insecurity in the Wyoming Valley.
Families picked up their “Taste and See Meal Kits” at the Catholic Youth Services in Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday. The program provides bags of fresh ingredients and recipes from local chefs, ready to be cooked for a healthy dinner at home.
“I think it’s gonna be exciting to try some of the new recopies and try our hand at some things that maybe we don’t normally eat,” Amanda Ammermann of Wilkes-Barre said.
Program executive Ryan Smith says the CYS is familiar with the challenges families face to put nutritious meals on the table. They provide more than 10,000 meals a month to children in poverty.
“Just talking to the children. I mean, we would ask them, what did you have for dinner last night, and they say oh, we went to McDonald’s, or we went to some kind of fast food,” Smith said.
Organizers hope to make it a special bonding and learning experience for people like Ammermann and her five-year-old daughter.
“A big thing at my home is dancing around in the kitchen, baking cookies. My daughter loves to help me make dinner,” Ammermann said.
The program provides food to 25 families on a weekly basis for one year.
“We’re hoping in the future this will take off to more than 25 families and even go through the community, maybe through the parishes through the diocese as well,” office manager Mary Stec said.
Joanne Padilla of Wilkes-Barre is excited to make new entrees, and have fun doing it with her family of five.
“Sometimes there’s mistakes, but that’s what families do. Even if it burns, but we still try,” Padilla said.
“We want it to be about the family getting together and feel comfortable about cooking together and sitting down as a family,” Smith said.
The “Taste and See Meal Kit Program” was made possible by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.