Embarking on a Culinary Journey: A Global Adventure with GAINS After School Program

Jan 16, 2024

To foster cultural learning and culinary exploration, The Salvation Army GAINS After-School Program has introduced an exciting 6-month initiative at its Ridgewood, Bushwick, Brownsville, Sunset Park, and Malcolm X Community Center locations. This innovative program aims to educate 200 kindergarten to 3rd-grade students about diverse cultures through the Eat2Explore culinary arts program.

What is Eat2Explore?
Eat2Explore takes children on a journey around the world by providing a monthly country box to each group of participants. Packed with 18 country-specific spices, sauces, grain mixes, a country explorer booklet, flag pin, country sticker, and a cooking tool, the program kicks off each month with a spotlight on a different country.

A Month of Cultural Learning
Every Friday, for 90 minutes, the program unfolds with a carefully crafted schedule:

  • Week 1: Geography and History
  • Week 2: Language Arts and Social Studies
  • Week 3: Arts and Crafts
  • Week 4: Music, Nutritional Studies, and Cooking Tool Education

This comprehensive approach ensures a well-rounded exploration of each country, touching on various aspects, from geography and history to language arts and culinary skills.

Benefits of Cultural Learning Through Cuisine:
The GAINS After-School Program recognizes the numerous advantages of cultural learning through the exploration of world cuisine for children, including:

  • Cultural Awareness
  • Diversity Appreciation
  • Global Perspective
  • Culinary Life Skills
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Language Development
  • Curiosity and Exploration

Moreover, the participating children are not just learning about these cultures; they are actively engaging in the experience by preparing and tasting authentic dishes.

Delightful Culinary Adventures:
From November 2023 to April 2024, students will savor a variety of mouthwatering dishes, including Köttbullar (Swedish meatballs), Bindaetteok (Korean pancakes), Gaeng Keow Wan (Thai Green Curry), Chicken Souvlaki (Greek skewers), Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian roasted chicken), Pastéis (Brazilian savory meat pastries) and many other meals from the chosen countries.

A Resounding Success:
Karen Cotugno, The Salvation Army of Greater New York's director of Social Services, enthusiastically shares, "The kids are loving it! This new program is helping so many local children develop the critical life skill of cooking, focusing on healthy eating from a young age and exploring other aspects of these countries."

Looking Ahead:
As the New Year approaches, The Salvation Army GAINS After-School Program is committed to continuing and expanding this enriching cultural education initiative. The goal is to instill a lifelong love for learning and appreciation of our world's diverse cultures.

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Because of generous donors like you we are able to fund programs like Eat2Explore so children can learn more about other cultures and in the process expand their taste buds!

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