More than 1.6 million people are food insecure in North Carolina. This means they lack reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. Many of our neighbors also live in food deserts, areas where it's difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.
The Y is working hard to bridge this gap and provide access to our community. We began a nutrition department in 2013 to distribute healthy food, teach good nutrition habits, and do cooking demonstrations in Buncombe, Henderson, McDowell, Haywood, and Madison counties.
Our Healthy Living Mobile Kitchens and Mobile Market distribute fresh food along with information on how to store it and practical, cost-effective cooking lessons. We now reach more than 300 families each month.
Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards
Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) teaches children how to make healthy food choices and to enjoy physical activity, contributing to their social and physical development. The HEPA standards build a healthier future for our nation’s children by creating environments rich in opportunities for eating well and moving more.
Our Y has adopted HEPA standards throughout all of our nutrition work to include meals, snacks, and the food we distribute in the community.
Each week, our nutrition team is in the community distributing from one of our three mobile units or from our Healthy Living Pantry. Each distribution is paired with healthy recipes, a practical cooking demonstration, and valuable nutrition information that's easy to understand. Distributions are FREE and open to the public.
Cooking Matters® Signature Courses
Cooking Matters Signature Courses teach low-income adults how to prepare and shop sensibly for healthy meals on a limited budget. Over the course of six weeks, instructors build upon participants’ own experiences to teach budgeting, shopping, and cooking skills.
Participants build confidence in their new skills through hands-on classes that result in improved cooking techniques and shopping savvy in daily life. Classmates also help one another by sharing feedback on each other’s progress. Participants receive ingredients weekly to practice making the class recipes at home.
By using what they learn in class at home, Cooking Matters course graduates maximize their food resources, make healthier choices for their families, and prepare balanced, delicious meals. Because proper nutrition is critical for children’s health, development, and ability to learn, acquiring these skills can return important long‐term benefits for a family’s physical and economic well-being.
To learn more about these programs, to discover where we currently serve meals, or to request meals at your location, please email us or call 828 775 7081.
Nutrition Outreach Hub
Take a virtual tour of our new Nutrition Outreach Hub located in the Asheville YMCA!