Grade 8 students at Archie Stouffer Elementary School got a taste of how to cook meals for others with the help of the Minden Food Bank.  

Students capped off a seven-week cooking class by preparing a full meal for their parents April 17.

The course, part of the student’s health curriculum, taught students about meal preparation, kitchen safety and healthy eating.  

Teacher Shannon Blanchard said the program also teaches lessons that go beyond the kitchen.  “It’s been amazing,” Blanchard said. “They’ve made appetizers, main meals, side dishes, desserts. It’s building on those leadership skills (and) team building.”  

Student Ava Allaire said the course has been beneficial.  

“I find I don’t really cook at home and I feel like this course has just given me the opportunity to cook and learn new things,” she said. 

 The Minden Food Bank has been involved in putting on the course with a grant from Feed Ontario for the past three years, according to former community kitchen manager Marilynne Lesperance.

The food bank has used its industrial kitchen to teach students.  

“They’re good. I think they’ve learned a lot and I think most of them have been killing it,” Lesperance said.  

Students did their own shopping to prepare a full meal for their parents, which featured lasagna, Caesar salad, garlic bread, broccoli with cheese sauce and cakes.  

Talus Fox said it would be his first time cooking for his family.  

“It’s exciting for me. It’s like a milestone in my life,” he said.  

Food bank volunteer Betty Mark said she used to teach a home economics class at Archie Stouffer, which is no longer offered. 

 “Since they got rid of the home-ec program, it’s kind of nice to be able to work with kids, teaching them basic life skills,” she said. “Sooner or later, they’re going to have to fend for themselves and a lot of them don’t know how to do that … what we’re hoping to do is provide them with healthy eating options.”  “Everybody needs to eat,” Blanchard said. “We need to know where our food comes from.” 

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