Photo courtesy of Jay Poliziani
Above are the participants who helped make the video for the Northside Common Ministries Food Pantry.

By Alyse Horn

Recently, the Pittsburgh YouthWorks and Northside Common Ministries Community Food Pantry collaborated to create a healthy cooking video for individuals and families who utilize the food pantry.

“The teens wrote the script, filmed, acted and edited the video, and it will be shown at the NCM Food pantry to help encourage healthy eating and to educate people on how to use fresh produce in their cooking,” Poliziani said.

The teens created a cooking video and a recipe book featuring their culinary creations will ultimately be distributed at NCM Food Pantry, the city’s largest and currently providing nearly 1,000 food insecure individuals and families every month of the year.

“The projects end goal is that these materials will be available at food pantries around the city in the coming months to ultimately help many of the regions resident’s find ways to eat a more healthful diet,” Poliziani said.

Stacey Udumukwu, NCM social work intern, worked with Sophia Duck, the YouthWorks intern, and Nate Wigfield from Bistro to Go to organize the project that ideally will help food pantry clients learn ways they can reduce the frequency of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure in their families.

The 12 teens who meet weekly at Northside’s Pittsburgh Project go to YouthWorks “Hire Me” program from various city high schools each week.

Poliziani said the YouthWorks “Hire Me” project happens yearly, and at the end of the programs rotation they try to participate in a job with social service as the focus. NCM had the idea to create a healthy eating video and when YouthWorks reached out and said they needed a project, Poliziani suggested to collaborate to make the video.

The video is completed and currently being edited and Poliziani said sometime in early June it will be ready to screen on a regular basis at the food pantry. The video will be closed caption.

Poliziani said the recipe book follows in the footsteps of the video, and advises food pantry consumers how to cook using fresh produce.

“We get a lot more fresh produce at the pantry over canned, so this will help folks learn how to store and cook [with fresh food] more easily,” Poliziani said.

Some of the recipes in the book include chicken alfredo pasta with broccoli, steak salad with fresh vegetables and a “somewhat” more healthy brownie recipe. Poliziani said all of the recipes included use items that are found in the food pantry.

The recipe books will be available at the food pantry, and eventually at surrounding food banks and pantries.

According to its website, “YouthWorks, a program of Goodwill of Southwestern PA, builds a community solution to help young people whose potential might otherwise be overlooked to pursue employment and career development opportunities.”

More information on YouthWorks can be found here.