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July 2020 Newsletter

Cooking skills are back in fashion, with headlines like; Covid-19 coronavirus: Being stuck at home may have an upside when it comes to eating and Covid-19 cooking: Rekindling a passion or a daily struggle?

When we shut up shop in March we were very unsure when and how we would be able to get our JUST COOK Healthy Ageing and Tika Tunu programmes up and running again.  With the programmes hibernating we turned our attention to our two websites and and what content was appropriate for the times.  We posted all our JUST COOK Healthy Ageing resources including our cookbook and menu planning and food safety information.  We are fortunate to work with students from the University of Auckland Master of Dietetics programme who also created new content like podcasts, articles and a two-week menu plan for older people including recipes and shopping lists.  We are very grateful for their help and for finally addressing the burning question of which diet is best?  We are also grateful for the support of our members who continue to support the Foundation and our JUST COOK programme.

Some of the communitites we are working with were very innovative in making sure programmes could continue in some form.  In the Eastern Bay of Plenty, a modified JUST COOK Oranga Kai programme was delivered to people living in Te Teko and Matatā who were unable to attend (due to Covid-19) the previously planned JUST COOK Healthy Ageing programme.  This involved changing the name to “Just Cook Oranga Kai at Home” and delivering the programme to participants in their homes once a week over a 4-week period. Each week each of the enrolled person received a cooked meal from the recipe book, ingredients to prepare the meal themselves, as well as the cookbook, handouts, and resources. They were also given a bean sprout kit and instructions for growing their own. This example illustrates programme flexibility and how it can be modified to meet unexpected community need. Programme evaluation was overwhelmingly positive. 

The lockdown also allowed us to rethink our youth programme and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the AUT digital students to create a platform for youth to youth communication on food and cooking. 

Now, like most organisations, we are back in the office but mixing it up working from home.  We are in touch with our community partners getting programmes organised and responding to requests from new communitities who are now very aware of the need for cooking skills.  It’s taking a while for older people to feel comfortable attending group activities but we are underway and back in business.

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