September is Hunger Action Month, and we're featuring some of our wonderful volunteers who help us SQUASH hunger everyday. Check out how Aila Goforth helps SQUASH HUNGER with our Nutrition Education program, Cooking Matters at the Store.
“It blows my mind that 1 in 4 children in North Carolina is going hungry. I think it should blow everyone’s mind!”
So says Aila Goforth, a senior in NCSU’s Applied Nutrition program and a volunteer with IFFS Nutrition Education programs.
“I volunteer to get out of my comfort zone and engage with the world, to help the world understand that hunger exists and if everybody helps, we can make a difference.”
Aila leads Cooking Matters at the Store grocery store tours to teach families healthy nutrition on a budget. From reading nutrition labels to deciphering unit pricing, the Cooking Matters at the Store curriculum arms families with the practical knowledge to make little changes that add up to a big difference in health.
“The amount of sugar in cereal is often the big eye opener,” says Aila. “When mom sees that 12 grams of sugar in the average box of cereal equals 3 teaspoons of sugar, the light bulb goes off.”
Aila teaches families to compare the advertising on the box to what’s on the nutritional label. “It may say ‘healthy’ or ‘natural’, but the label shows it has 16 grams of fat.”
Because Aila works with low-income families, her eye is always on balancing what is healthy with what is affordable. That means buying a whole chicken, which is more economical than buying a chicken already cut up. Or buying milk on sale and freezing it to drink later.
Coming from a family that often needed help to stretch the budget, Aila knows first-hand what it’s like to go hungry or eat what’s filling rather than what’s healthy.
“If everyone learned just a little bit about hunger and health, and then helped just a little bit, we could solve this. There are so many ways to volunteer.”
If Aila can do it, you can, too! Find out all the ways you can volunteer at www.FoodShuttle.org. Want to help out with grocery store tours like Aila? How about on October 24th for Food Day? We're hosting tours in Food Lions all across the greater triangle! Find out more here.