Shawnee Country Club Executive Chef Matt Johnson Donated Time and Talents to Promote Healthy Eating at the Community Market of Pottawatomie County

Download Photos from the Cooking Demonstration.

(OKLAHOMA CITY) – Oct. 10, 2016 – The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is working to improve the health of the community by providing healthier items and nutrition education classes to clients.  As a part of this effort, the nonprofit partners with Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) to implement Eating Heart Healthy, an interactive cooking and nutrition workshop designed for low and middle income individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

Last month, Matt Johnson, executive chef at Shawnee Country Club, held one of these classes at the Community Market of Pottawatomie County Food & Resource Center, an affiliate of the Regional Food Bank.

Chef Johnson taught 30 Community Market clients how to cook Italian Tuna Salad and Salmon Cakes.  These are healthy dishes made from low-cost items that are carried at grocery stores and Regional Food Bank partner agencies, like the Community Market Food & Resource Center.

“I enjoy teaching people cooking techniques that are helpful in the everyday home kitchen,” said Chef Matt.  “I want to help people that are a little timid in the kitchen to be more experimental when they cook and try new flavors. Some of the best dishes ever created started off as mistakes.  I am really glad that Daniel reached out to me and the Country Club to help out with this project.  We hope this will be the beginning of a long relationship with the Community Market, and the community of Shawnee as well.”

Oklahoma ranks among the 10 worst states for many key health indicators, including: cardiovascular deaths, physical inactivity, premature deaths, obesity, and preventable hospitalizations.

“When Oklahomans are living on a limited income, the first thing to go are healthy and expensive foods, like fruits and vegetables,” said Daniel Mathews, executive director of the Community Market of Pottawatomie County.  “We are working year-round to provide healthier options for clients, as well as educating them on making smarter choices and providing the resources they need to eat healthier.”

Most of the clients served by the Regional Food Bank, and its partner agencies and affiliates, are children, seniors and hardworking families.  According to the nonprofit, 24 percent of clients households have at least one member in poor health; 33 percent of client households have a member with diabetes and 57 percent of client households have a member with high blood pressure.

The Regional Food Bank places a priority on increasing the volume of fresh fruits and vegetables it distributes to its partner agencies.  Last year, more than 12.7 million pounds of produce were distributed to clients, representing 24 percent of the nonprofit’s total distribution.

Last year, SNP launched a three-year public health education campaign across the country.  This program aims to encourage Americans, especially the underserved, to eat seafood twice a week, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HHS) Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which research has shown can lower the risk of heart disease by 36 percent.

Together, we can solve hunger.  SNP-OKC will donate one meal to the Regional Food Bank for every Oklahoman who signs the Healthy Heart Pledge at www.seafoodnutrition.org.

Established in 1980, the Regional Food Bank is the largest private, domestic hunger-relief organization in the state of Oklahoma. Last fiscal year, the nonprofit distributed 52 million pounds of food and products through a network of more than 1,300 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties.

For more information about the Regional Food Bank, or to make a donation, visit regionalfoodbank.org or call 405-600-3136.

About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest private, domestic hunger-relief organization and a member of Feeding America’s network of Food Banks.  The nonprofit provides enough food to feed more than 126,000 hungry Oklahomans each week through a network of more than 1,300 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Since its inception in 1980, the Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 644 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry.  For more information, visit http://www.regionalfoodbank.org; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/regionalfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rfbo.

About Seafood Nutrition Partnership

Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to inspire a healthier America through partnerships that raise awareness about the essential nutritional benefits of eating seafood. SNP leads education efforts to help Americans gain the skills to select, order and prepare fish and shellfish, and to inspire a healthier America by promoting a nutrient-rich diet that includes seafood. In October 2015, SNP launched a three-year national public health education campaign.

###