Food Bank educators use new platforms to reach vulnerable clients

March 26, 2020

On a typical workday, Food Bank of Delaware WIC Educators Chong Yi  and Alisha Beckford start their day at the Food Bank’s Milford and Newark facilities. They pack a rolling cart with ingredients needed to prepare a demo recipe, utensils, paper towels, rubber gloves, and clean-up supplies, along with recipe cards and nutritional handouts, load a Food Bank vehicle, then head out to a site.

For these nutrition educators, “site” could mean a library, a state service center lobby, a child care center, or community facility that provides services for pregnant women and their children age 5 and under.

But these aren’t typical days. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delaware’s governor issued a stay-at-home order, making demo locations inaccessible. Daily life for the state’s most vulnerable – food-insecure – population became even more challenging.

So, Yi and Beckford are stepping up to the challenge, removing barriers, and continuing the Food Bank’s mission to eradicate hunger through technology. Working from home, they are creating – filming and editing – six instructional videos that WIC clients can access from a phone.

WIC Education teaches pregnant and new moms about how they can prepare nutritious easy meals from the foods on their food vouchers. Last year, 107 cooking demonstrations were conducted in WIC clinics for 822 individuals and 109 community demonstrations and nutrition education classes were conducted for 747 individuals. WIC Outreach program aims to increase retention rate of WIC eligible children and provides community awareness.

Making videos, a work in progress, includes a learning curve for instructors who have grown comfortable relating to a live, interactive audience. And once these videos have been edited, they must go through an approval process before they are released.

On a chilly and rainy Wednesday, Yi used her own camera and a tripod in her kitchen to record the script paired with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites she mixed up on Tuesday. The WIC-approved recipe is a nutritious snack that is not only appealing, but also easy to prepare and only requires a microwave.

“The peanut butter provides protein,” explained Yi, adding that the nutritional standard for WIC recipes are designed to be protein, iron and calcium-rich.

The challenge, Yi said, was not the video portion, but incorporating the audio, then editing, and completing the project. “It’s a lot more than I thought it would be,” she noted. “But we can’t be out in the community now, and this will provide a virtual platform.”

Meanwhile, Beckford was making a yogurt fruit snack; chickpea brownies will be featured in a separate video. In the near future, there will also be three nutritional – non recipe – videos; they will address food waste, portion sizes, and tips for kids.

Visit www.fbd.org to learn more about the Food Bank of Delaware’s mission and programs.

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