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Two women cooking

Rachael Graham made sure to spend her time as a SNAP-Ed educator in Chambers and Randolph Counties to help students make informed food choices. She was able to accomplish this through nutrition education and creating food access for her communities.

Adult Centers

In both Chambers and Randolph Counties, Graham worked in adult centers to provide nutrition education. Through her efforts at Valley Haven School in Chambers County and the Randolph County Learning Center, she would speak to clients once a month about how food impacts their lives.

Before COVID-19, Graham set up a cooking demonstration for individuals at the centers to talk about certain food groups. She set up exercises about food, explained portion sizes, and cooked the recipes in front of the crowd. Most of the recipes were simple. This allowed for interaction from the clients to have a hands-on learning experience from Graham.

“Many of these individuals make their own food choices at home,” Graham said. “Many of the clients even shop for themselves at the local grocery store, so I felt it was so important for them to have this education.”

Guided Education

Graham guided the clients through Live Well Alabama recipe demonstrations and tastings, coupled with a USDA nutrition 10-Tip lessons. Each lesson focused on a particular food group.

For example, one day, the lesson would be about dairy, and Graham would spend the short session talking about why dairy was good for them, and the importance of low-fat dairy in their diet. She would also focus her recipe on dairy-based products to tie the entire lesson together.

Going Virtual

During the pandemic, Graham transitioned her work from face to face education to virtual education. She recognized a need to create a resource identifying food access points in her counties. Graham noticed there were several food resources scattered across the county. However, there wasn’t an easy place for residents to find the food resource information.

“I created a tell-all sheet that had every food resource available from pickups at schools to churches to food banks and pantries and listed it all in one spot,” Graham said.

The information was shared with many community stakeholders, including the Randolph County Board of Education, that shared it as part of its regular phone calls to parents and social media where it reached more than 10,000 people.

Sherri Mulder is now the SNAP-Ed Educator in Chambers and Randolph Counties. To contact her, call (256) 357-2841 or email her at slm0127@aces.edu.

To find more success stories about SNAP-Ed educators, visit LiveWellAlabama.com.

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