East Aurora’s Rural Outreach Center, a nonprofit organization offering a wide variety of social services for those living in Western New York’s rural communities, is introducing a unique nutrition program that is bringing families back to the dinner table.
“Nutrition ROCs is a brand new program that, originally, was going to be offered only to single moms, but we decided to open it up to single dads and any other participant who may be interested,” said ROC Program Director Susan Giovino. “Through the program we will offer cooking and nutrition classes once a month for a year, and the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora has graciously offered to host these classes.”
The program was created and will be implemented by dietary interns from the University at Buffalo. In addition, there will be a children’s program that will simultaneously take place at the Roycroft that will teach youngsters about food and nutrition using books, games and activities. A licensed dietician has volunteered to create the children’s program and will be assisted by volunteers from the ROC. After the parents cook the meal, the children will join them for dinner.
Nutrition ROCs is being partially funded by the Junior League of Buffalo. Funding from the organization will also be used to purchase kitchen equipment for single moms. The WNY Foundation, East Aurora Cooperative Market and local farmers are also contributing to the program.
“At the ROC, we are continually asking our constituents for feedback, and from there we do our best to respond to their needs,” said ROC Executive Director Frank Cerny. “Cooking is becoming a lost art, so we’re happy to help these parents create a nutritious meal and bring a sense of normalcy back to the dinnertime tradition.”