Molly Owens, a recent graduate of the Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program, has been supporting the growth of our Cooking Matters program this year! Learn more about Molly below.
How did you hear about 412 Food Rescue?
I was put in contact with 412 Food Rescue through Professor Dodd. She acts as my academic and Schweitzer mentor. As soon as I sat down with Celia and Hana I knew that this was the perfect fit for myself to grow as a Schweitzer Fellow and as a person. The course, Cooking Matters, aligns well with my own personal beliefs. I feel that basic nutrition should be available for everyone and is a human right. Cooking Matters embodies those same principles and aims to support people from all walks of life. My own program “Power Up with Plants” will bring plant based diet education to low income and Veteran families to increase food security and nutrition knowledge while reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
How does holding a fellowship with 412 Food Rescue relate to your educational and career goals?
Going into college I always knew that I wanted to be in a health care field since I had a desire and need to care for people that may not be able to care for themselves. When I was a freshman, my father had his first heart attack. This made me stop and think. How many other families are affected by diseases that may have been prevented through basic food choices and education. Nutrition is the foundation of a healthy body, and without it, chronic and acute diseases will follow. I tried to not only look out for my own family, but to educate and do all that I could to educate those around me. My fellowship and 412 will give me the hands-on experience in my current field of dietetics. I will be able to educate families, older adults, and children on basic nutrition education and healthy cooking techniques. It allows me to incorporate what I learn in the classroom and apply it in a real-world setting. It allows me to work with many different populations, cultures, and ages, something that I may have not had the chance to do otherwise.
What has been a meaningful experience you have had with Cooking Matters?
Working each week with the participants has been the most meaningful and rewarding experience. I build relationships with each participant to better help them in their everyday lives. Sometimes it is more important to be a listening ear for someone rather than just simply educating- something I have learned throughout.
What do you hope to get out of your fellowship year with 412 Food Rescue?
I hope to continue my education through hands-on experiences. I also hope to gain a better understanding of the real life struggles many people go through regarding food insecurity and food choices. The Schweitzer Fellowship and 412 Food Rescue are giving me the opportunity to turn my passion for food and equal nutrition into a reality.
Why should others volunteer with our Cooking Matters program?
Whether you are just starting out in a health field, have an interest in food/cooking, or simply want to just be more hands on in your community, 412 and Cooking Matters has something for you. It is a well-developed program that allows you to add your own personal touch. If you are looking to gain more experience with different populations, Cooking Matters is the place for you.