Vt. students create budget-friendly cookbook - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. students create budget-friendly cookbook

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"For me my family we have a hard time with food," Kathleen Webber said.

Webber knows what it's like to go hungry. Her mom struggles to put food on the table.

"We only live off one income. So, it is very hard for my mom to be paying for everything, especially the prices of food these days," Webber said.

So, that's why this U-32 High School senior pitched the issue of hunger to her Democracy in Action class.

"It was actually great to see people taking on such a meaningful thing," said Paula Emery, a social studies teacher at U-32.

The class votes and takes on one community issue each year, studying it and looking for solutions. Their teacher calls it service learning. She's getting an education, too.

"I didn't think this would be the one they would choose. I was pushing for something else," Emery said. "But what's interesting, I've learned a lot about it."

Like that one in three students at U-32 gets free or reduced-cost lunch. Or that one in seven Vermont families don't get enough nutritional foods daily or are forced to skip meals they can't afford.

"And that's the hard part with this is what can you do about hunger in Vermont?" Emery said.

The kids hope writing to members of Congress, newspaper editors and a cookbook they worked on will help.

"We made $30 a week budget cookbooks," said Meg McMullen, a senior.

Food-stamp friendly cookbooks-- they include nutritious recipes to feed a family of four for a week on just $30, the typical amount folks get in federal food subsidies.

"We found some really inexpensive recipes and it helped us out and we want to share it with the world," McMullen said.

They're starting one person at a time outside the Shaw's Supermarket in the state's capital, talking about hunger and handing out their free cookbooks.

Most of the recipes use ingredients like vegetables, legumes and high-protein beans. Filling foods that won't break the bank, like Boston Baked Beans.

"We thought it would be powerful to show people what is healthy," Webber said. "But not only that, but it was cheap."

And Webber hopes the class project will help other people just like her and put a hard-to-swallow issue in the spotlight.

"We are not only here to give out cookbooks, but to spread awareness," she said.

The students also collected money Friday for the Vermont Food Bank.

To find out how you can get a copy of the cookbook, email -- kwebber14@student.U32.org

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