Cooking Videos for State Welfare Program to Premiere Today

RIVERSIDE – Student-produced videos that demonstrate how Riverside County residents on welfare can make their meals more healthy and satisfying will debut today.

”Through these videos, we are able show low-income families that there is a way to eat well and healthfully even on an extremely fixed budget,” said Riverside Unified School District Nutrition Services Director Rodney Taylor. ”RUSD is proud to have been part of this collaborative and creative effort to reach out to our neediest families and help them to prepare simple, delicious and low-cost recipes that the whole family will enjoy.”

Starting at 3:30 p.m., several informational videos created by the RUSD Video Production Unit will be shown during a premiere at Longfellow Elementary School.

Students shot and edited the material as part of a pilot project initiated by the county Department of Public Social Services, which received a $750,000 federal grant to establish a program that raises awareness about food preparation for people who receive CalFresh benefits. CalFresh is the state welfare program.

Just over 234,000 county residents are monthly recipients, up from 150,000 in 2007.

RUSD, DPSS, the county Department of Public Health, the Coachella Valley- based FIND Food Bank and the University of California Cooperative Extension collaborated to produce videos that offer tips on the types of groceries welfare users can buy with CalFresh food stamps and the variety of ways to prepare healthier meals.

DPSS Director Susan Loew said the project seeks to promote diets that curb obesity. RUSD Chef Ryan Douglas, who oversees the district-wide meal preparation plan for the two-thirds of students qualifying for free or reduced- cost lunches, is featured in the films.

”The videos created by RUSD students and starring Chef Ryan have allowed us to convey, in a fun and entertaining way, the message that you can purchase healthy and nutritious food with CalFresh dollars,” Loew said.

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