A new group of ten Nutrition Ambassadors completed their certification in December, celebrating with a graduation ceremony that included friends and Second Harvest staff. We now have 270 Nutrition Ambassador graduates volunteering at 28 locations throughout Santa Cruz County. In addition to managing food distributions, they are teaching people how to make healthier choices.
Rosario Valerio, Nutrition Programs Manager at Second Harvest (and one of our amazing cooks!) prepared a healthy lunch of albondigas and veggies in broth, chia pudding and fresh fruit. The soup was delicious and perfect for a cold afternoon.
Many Nutrition Ambassadors are clients of the food bank who volunteer as a way of giving back for the food they receive from us. Second Harvest’s Director of Community Programs, Teresa Moran, explained that these ambassadors want to make positive change in the community by sharing the valuable lessons they have learned through the program, including how to read product labels and practical strategies for reducing salt and sugar intake and drinking more water every day.
Everyone supported each other during the classes and their sense of accomplishment and camaraderie was apparent as they accepted their certificates and gift baskets and posed for a group photo. One of the graduates said she is happy to be a part of something that brings the community together. Another added that it is the first certificate she has ever received, her first graduation.
Brooke Johnson, Second Harvest’s Chief Operations and Programs Officer, expressed her gratitude for the time and energy these new ambassadors are devoting to making their community healthier. “We have a big mission to end hunger in our community and we couldn’t do it without you.”