EMFV volunteer appreciation luncheon

Arcare executive director recognized as Honorary EMFV

Earlier this summer, the K-State Research and Extension Master Food Volunteer (EMFV) Program presented Barb Helm, Arcare’s executive director, with the first-ever Honorary EMFV certificate for her support and contributions to its Four-Course Living program. The honor was announced during the Johnson County EMFV annual volunteer appreciation luncheon, which was held at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center.

EMFVs are a designation of volunteers through the extension passionate about healthy living, food and giving back to the community. Back in 2015, two EMFVs, Jean Porter and Sherry Carter, approached Barb about developing a program through the extension catering to adults with disabilities. Barb then wrote a grant through the Arcare Charitable Fund to establish Four-Course Living. Four-Course Living provides adults with special needs information and skills necessary to live safe, independent lives. Classes offered through the program underscore the importance of four specific topics:

Barb Helm
Barb Helm during the Johnson County EMFV annual volunteer appreciation luncheon

Nutrition – Class participants learn the importance of healthy eating and portion control. To encourage healthy choices, students are each given the USDA’s MyPlate food icon as a guide.

Safety – Kitchen tools and appliances can be dangerous to use without the proper training. In safety courses, students are shown how to handle food properly, use basic knife skills and safely prepare meals.

Planning – Planning ahead can make eating on a fixed income less stressful. Students learn how to combine ingredients across multiple meals, grocery shop using a circular and plan their meals in advance.

Prep – Students combine skills from the other courses in this cooking class, in which they work together to prepare a meal from start to finish and enjoy the food afterward.

Information about Four-Course Living’s 2018 classes is available now. Courses can also be tailored for Residential or Day Service Providers interested in learning about managing expenses while also providing healthy options their residents can help prepare. For details, contact Jean Porter at (913) 236-5019.

Providing food prep skills for individuals with disabilities

For adults with special needs, living independently is a challenge. On yesterday’s edition of Up To Date on KCUR, Steve Kraske interviewed Sarah Mai, executive director of The Mission Project, a local organization dedicated to helping adults with developmental disabilities live on their own. Also joining the conversation was Beverly Palomba, the author of a cookbook specially designed for their needs.

Sarah shared information about the benefits and opportunities The Mission Project provides its residents. She also spoke about how the group is looking for ways to expand its offerings to various locations throughout the Kansas City area and beyond to help a larger population of individuals with disabilities. But overall, the focus of the conversation fell on the importance of teaching food preparation and planning skills to help them live independently and safely.

Listen to the 20-minute program by clicking on the video below.

In addition to learning from the YouTube channel Sarah has created (available online here) that provides “how to” videos on everything from popping popcorn in an air popper to preparing for guests in the home, the individuals in The Mission Project are also benefitting from a new program offered by Master Food Volunteers through the K-State Johnson County Research Extension.

This program is being supported by a grant from the Arcare Foundation, and we are thrilled to be part of its growth and evolution. Run by Jean Porter and Sherry Carter, the to-be-named program will allow individuals with disabilities to develop culinary skills and increase their knowledge about nutritious meal planning for just a few dollars per class. Jean and Sherry hope to get other organizations like The Mission Project involved to expand their reach and help more adults with disability live successfully on their own.

Check our Arcare Charitable Fund page for more information as the program takes shape!