Obesity & Hunger Affect Same Population; Learn More From the Triangle Experts

Low-income and food insecure people are especially vulnerable to obesity due to the additional risk factors associated with poverty. Part of the Triangle's long-term solution to hunger is Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's Cooking Matters program.


Mar 01, 2011—RALEIGH, NC

"While all segments of the population are affected by obesity, low-income and food insecure people are especially vulnerable due to the additional risk factors associated with poverty, " commented Katherine Andrew, Director of Nutrition, Farm and Gardens for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. "Today, with close to 15% of all North Carolinians facing food insecurity, we are fifth highest in the nation, and approximately two-thirds of adults in our state are overweight or obese. "

Cooking Matters allows Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to provide a long-term solution to hunger by empowering participants to make educated choices about how to grow, cook, and eat the best food possible. Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is Share Our Strength's North Carolina Presenting Partner for "Cooking Matters" and "Shopping Matters".

"Providing nutritious food is our top priority! Our goal is to give people the confidence and ability to be more self-sufficient and improve their eating habits and food budgeting skills, " said Jill Staton Bullard, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. "For more than 21 years we've been providing healthy, nutritious food to our neighbors who are food insecure. Our partnership with Share Our Strength helps us to empower these families at risk of hunger with the skills and confidence to make healthy and affordable meals from the food we provide. "

THE PROBLEM - Did you realize?

  • An apple a day is out of reach for more than 50 million Americans. [1]
  • In 2009, North Carolina ranked 11th in the nation for childhood obesity at 18.6%[2] and 10th in the nation for adult obesity with nearly two-thirds (65.7%) of adults being overweight OR obese[3]
  • More than 14.7 percent of American households do not have access at times to nutritious foods. [4]
  • At 20.3% in 2009, North Carolina ranks second in the nation for the highest food insecurity rate for children under age 5. [5]
  • There are more than 111,000 children at risk of hunger here in the Triangle. This is just the number of children on free and reduced lunch and not even fully representative of all of the children who are food insecure.


Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is one of 26 partners nationally implementing the Cooking Matters program through Share Our Strength. Cooking Matters in a nutrition based culinary program focused on teaching low income community members how to shop for, prepare, and eat nutritious foods on a budget. Cooking Matters classes run for 6-weeks, and are taught by volunteer chefs and nutrition instructors. Inter-Faith Food Shuttle also incorporates a gardening component into our Cooking Matters classes, helping participants learn where their food comes from and how to grow good food of their own.

Cooking Matters classes and curriculum are offered to kids, youth, adults, families, young parents, and child care providers. There are addendums to the adult curriculum for people living with Diabetes and for people living with HIV/AIDS. Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is currently partnering with North Carolina State University's Nutrition Department in Wake County and with the Community Nutrition Partnership in Orange County to spread the reach of Cooking Matters classes across the state.


  • Reached 385 participants (225 kids/teens; 115 adults), and graduated 301 (214 kids/teen; 95 adults) in 2010.
  • Increased Cooking Matters courses from 28 classes in 2009 to 39 classes in 2010, and projecting 42 classes for 2011.
  • Prepared over 450 healthy recipes with participants in 2010.
  • Engaged 144 professional volunteer instructors who gave over 500 volunteer hours in 2010.
  • Walmart donated a truck to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and awarded Share Our Strength a $1.5 million grant to fund the expansion of the "Cooking Matters" program and launch of the "Shopping Matters" nutrition education programs.

March is National Nutrition Month®. National Nutrition Month® is an education and information campaign sponsored annually by the American Dietetic Association.