MARION, Iowa (KCRG) – Elizabeth Low loves to cook.
“I really to cook and I like to teach others to cook, and I also really like sharing food,” said Low.
Low’s passion for food is reflected in the several recipes in a booklet she put together with help from local chefs in eastern Iowa.
“They are simple and healthy and nutritious and easy enough for kids to make,” she said.
But, for the Linn Mar Senior, the booklet represents much more. It’s the culmination of her “Cooking Up Success” project that she launched this Summer as a Herbert Hoover Uncommon Scholar. It was sparked by her own passion and wanting to help food-insecure families in the area.
“In the beginning of my project to establish that there really was a need for this, we went around to local middle and elementary schools and a lot of nurses told me not having good nutrition causes a lot of health issues now and in the future,” Low said. “So hopefully with this project, I’ll be able to help these kids and encourage them to choose the right path of healthy nutrition.”
The booklets include recipes from local restaurants who have chosen to participate either donating money or sending in a recipe. So far at least 9 businesses have gotten on board. She also plans to distribute aprons with the booklets to make it more of a hands-on experience.
They’ll be given out to area kids through a partnership with Feeding Lunches to Youth, an organization that delivers lunches primarily to students who qualify for free and reduced lunches in Cedar Rapids, Linn-Mar and Marion Independent school districts throughout the summer months.
“I thought it was really cool because it’s another example of somebody giving of themselves to help meet the needs of others and offer dignity and so we were really excited,” said the board President Simon Campbell. “The plan is just to take the book she’s generated and include that on with the lunches that go out to our community each day.”
Campbell says especially this year with the pandemic the need has skyrocketed.
“Normally, we serve somewhere around 10 thousand lunches in the summer and we crossed that mark before we even hit halfway through the summer. We’re at like 12 or 13 thousand meals served so far this summer with a good month left to go,” he said.
However, they’re working on other efforts to help make it easier for families. Low’s project is an example of one, but it’s going to take support from the community.
“So far, I have about 600 dollars pledged to my cause by local restaurants and then my goal is to raise 18 hundred dollars,” Low said.
So she’s hoping people visit her GoFundMe page to help reach her goal of feeding youth – one recipe at a time.
“I think my main goal here is if you receive the booklet and get an apron, I really encourage you to go hands-on. All the recipes are just a guide to let you know what’s out there, and what’s healthy and nutritious,” said Low. “The book Is not the limit so that’s something I hope the kids receiving these books will really take away and really pursue a healthy eating lifestyle because that’s the whole goal.”
Feeding Lunches to Youth serves in 12 area locations. People can find out where they can get lunches on the FLY Website.
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