Church starts cooking classes for food bank clients

A church in Saint John is starting a cafe and cooking class in the hopes of helping food bank clients learn new ways to stretch their food budget by making the most of their meals.

Edith Avenue Baptist Church hopes to teach ways to stretch food budgets

A church in Saint John will start offering cooking classes later this month to help food bank clients and other people on tight budgets learn how to make the most of their meals.

Edith Avenue Baptist Church will provide weekly cooking demonstrations in a cafe setting at the church, located on the city's east side, said Joel Post, who has teamed up with Rev. Grant Alcorn on the project.

Post, who will help lead the classes, hopes participants will leave with some new ideas to stretch their food budgets in interesting and healthy ways.

"The majority of people get the stuff [from the food bank] and eat it all at one time, or make little simple meals out of it and I can teach them how to stretch it out and make some half decent meals out of it," he said.

"A little bit of ingenuity and a bit of common sense when it comes to food and cooking and to see how easy it is to do instead of doing everything out of a box. It's easier to make meals."

Staples from food bank boxes, such as a pound of ground beef, can provide a variety of meals, said Post.

"You can make meatballs out of it, you can do a little meatloaf or things like that, a couple patties, you could stretch it like that, instead of eating it all at one time, just ground beef on rice or something," he said.

"I do a lot of different stuff and teach how to use spices half decent so you can make stewed tomatoes and paste taste good instead of just stewed tomatoes and pasta."

Post also hopes the classes will provide a sense of community for people who may feel isolated. They may eventually decide to pool their resources, share and work together, he said.

Interest from the community will determine how many classes will be offered, said Post.

For now, demonstrations are scheduled to be held weekly at the church, located at 20 Edith Ave., every Tuesday, from noon until 3 p.m., starting on Oct. 30.