Volunteers for Cooking Matters Courses are expected to attend all six, two-hour classes, as well as a “class zero” before the start of the course. This does not take into account travel time, class preparation, and a 1.5-hour orientation/training. Course instructors should be comfortable speaking in front of groups and all volunteers must have reliable transportation as well as interest and comfort working with low-income individuals from diverse backgrounds. Some of the following roles may overlap.
The culinary instructor serves as an educator and role model, teaching key skills and inspiring participants to cook healthier, inexpensive meals at home.
Responsibilities: Teach low-income participants the basics of food and kitchen safety, food preparation, and making healthy, low-cost choices and substitutions when cooking, according to the highlighted objectives of each lesson.
Skills/Experience Required: Professional culinary training or experience working in the food industry preferred. Self-taught or cooking enthusiasts are also welcome, granted they possess adequate knowledge of the subject matter.
The nutrition instructor will serve as a teacher and role model, teaching and reinforcing key messages about healthy eating and inspiring participants to adopt healthy eating habits.
Responsibilities: Teach low-income participants basic healthy eating and food budgeting messages, according to the highlighted objectives of each lesson in the Instructor Guides based on USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Skills/Experience Required: Nutrition Training at an accredited institution. Registered Dietitian and/or four-year degree in nutrition, food science, dietetics, or related field preferred. Dietetic interns are encouraged to apply.
The course coordinator is responsible for organizing the Cooking Matters class and all parties involved.
Responsibilities: Identify and reach out to the appropriate host agency, find kitchen space, be in charge of both participant and volunteer recruitment, and act as point person for all volunteers and participants.
Skills/Experience Required: Ability to coordinate, take initiative, and have strong community organizing skills.
The class shopper will do the grocery shopping prior to each class and ensure that each class is stocked with healthy, inexpensive foods.
Responsibilities: Shop for class supplies and weekly groceries using specified shopping lists, deliver groceries for both in-class and take-home groceries to the class site no later than 30 min. prior to the start of class, and keep accurate, organized records of money and receipts and submit them to the Cooking Matters Maine team.
Skills/Experience Required: Knowledge of general grocery shopping strategy and food budgeting techniques, strong organizational, budgeting, and money management skills.
The class assistant will provide classroom assistance as needed.
Responsibilities: Assist instructors and team members with a variety of tasks such as: set up, classroom management, clean up, etc.
Skills/Experience Required: Flexibility, proactivity, and willingness to involve oneself in the classroom.