Family Nutrition Program helps improve the lives of Virginians with cooking skills, motivation, and personal connections

Family Nutrition Program helps improve the lives of Virginias with cooking skills, motivation, and personal connections. The Family Nutrition Program’s mission is to help low-income families around the state improve their lives by teaching healthy eating, active living, safe food handling, and thrifty food shopping. In Patrick County, 11-year veteran Program Assistant Vicky Wasoski touched the life of one special resident, Patricia, and helped her set her new year off in a better direction.

Patricia began class with Vicky in the fall of 2013. Patricia faces disabilities that keep her from living on her own, and recently her doctor told her that she was overweight. She took the initiative to sign up for nutrition classes with Vicky, and during the two months she was enrolled in the class, she lost 16 pounds! As she gained the skills and confidence to prepare food on her own following Vicky’s encouragement, she began to make her own cookbook from the recipes she received in class and from magazines she found. Patricia went from not liking to cook to learning skills and loving everything she prepared. She was excited to be introduced to new foods and flavors and was especially anxious to try recipes using chicken, as her family raises their own.

Through the personal efforts of Vicky Wasoski and the Family Nutrition Program, Patricia is on her way to be able to live on her own, cook for herself, and keep her weight under control. Patricia’s story highlights one of the less talked about aspects of the learning that goes on in the Family Nutrition Program: when participants begin to learn to cook and shop for themselves in ways that are healthy and within their budget, they gain self-confidence and a new found sense of control in their lives. We are proud of Patricia and the many other participants who take the first steps towards making positive changes in their lives under the caring watch of the program assistants.

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