A new training program dedicated to teaching lower income families about shopping smarter and eating healthy began Thursday night.
An Indianapolis City-County Councilor is behind the program that will package information about basic nutrition, label reading, meal planning and cooking skills and deliver it the agencies that work directly with the families.
Indianapolis City-County Councilor Marilyn Pfiesterer said the idea was born out of a Facebook post she saw.
"The comment was, 'I guess it's going to be a Banquet week,' meaning she was going to buy TV dinners for them to eat the rest of the week," said Pfiesterer, who said many moms and dads today do not realize how much they can save by cooking at home.
"Fresh fruits and vegetables, basic meals, would have stretched those dollars so much further," she said.
Pfiesterer also said families can make healthy meals that are not expensive if they are cooked in a certain fashion. She has since partnered with a nutritionist at Purdue University to hold the series of training courses.
"Sometimes, I think, 'Gosh, what will we have for supper that's healthy, and that he likes," said Franki Tussey, who has a 10-year-old son. She is a single mother living in Wayne Township on a fixed income.
Tussey said while she has mastered a few healthy and inexpensive recipes, she is open to any idea that could save her money.
"I have to budget everything," Tussey said.
The Wayne Township Trustee's Office is on board with the program. Representatives were in attendance at the first session Thursday night. The office sees more than 30 families in need each day.
"We're all about trying to direct our clients to spend their money wisely so they can pay their bills," said Susan Scott, the Wayne Township deputy trustee.
She said they are already planning to re-teach the information they have gathered at community meetings where they are invited to speak.
"Why is not going to benefit me? Why is this not going to benefit my employees?" said Scott, who believes there are plenty of invaluable lessons that any family could benefit from.
"I'm hoping to roll this out as far and wide as I possibly can," said Pfiesterer.
Pfiesterer said she has already gotten several calls about the program. She plans to hold more session in Marion and surrounding counties.