"WEST SPRINGFIELD -- Ascentria Care Alliance and SNAP-Ed have partnered to offer a free cooking and nutrition class at Oxford Place Wednesday.
The event is open to West Springfield Housing Authority residents, as well as the community at large from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Oxford Place Community Room, 37 Oxford Place.
According to SNAP-Ed Program Manager Kristen Lussier, the interactive nutrition lesson is based around a cooking demonstration on how to make easy, healthy recipes. All participants will have the opportunity to taste test, take home the recipe, and ask questions about healthy eating and cooking.
The program, which is offered in both English and Russian, is grant-funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service.
'If anyone from outside the Housing Authority would like to attend, it would be helpful to register with myself or the Housing Authority beforehand to ensure adequate space for all,' said Lussier.
Lussier said the program will be offered in English and Russian because there is a large Russian population living in the West Springfield Housing complexes.
'The deputy director of the West Springfield Council on Aging, who organized this event, asked if we might have the capacity to hold one of the sessions with a Russian Interpreter,' Lussier said.
The SNAP-Ed Program is one of the services offered through the Ascentria Care Alliance's Services for New Americans Program. Ascentria offers resettlement and case management, English as a second language classes, employment services, and legal services to clients. Refugee and immigrant populations are one of Ascentria SNAP-Ed's target audiences for its nutrition programming.
'Therefore, we have several staff available who can translate the common languages of those clients we resettle, Russian/Ukrainian being one of the current prominent languages of the resettled populations,' Lussier said.
Lussier said the goals and objectives of the Ascentria SNAP-Ed Program are to provide nutrition education programs and activities that improve the likelihood that members of the local community in Hampden County, specifically those who receive SNAP or who are SNAP eligible, will make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose active lifestyles consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Choose MyPlate Guidance System.
'Our objectives are directly linked to addressing the nutrition and health problems seen in Massachusetts: overweight, obesity, inadequate physical activity, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, inadequate fiber intake, and excessive fat and saturated fat intake,' Lussier said. 'We also address improving food safety and food resource management behaviors since these are also important topics for the community.'
Lussier said most of the classes are held with schools or community organizations. Ascentria offers one free public nutrition-based gardening class series open to families. That program is held on Monday evenings, weather permitting, from 5-6 p.m. at Mittineague Park."
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