Dear Friends of Vetri Community Partnership,
As we pass the one-year mark of the world turning upside down, I find myself reflecting on the progress that our team has made during this time and feeling hopeful for the exciting developments to come in the future.
Since March of 2020, Vetri Community Partnership and our hallmark hands-on, in-person programming has operated entirely in a virtual format. Virtual programming has provided us with the opportunity to engage community members in a new way and reach new audiences across the city. The levels of engagement, participant feedback, and success stories stemming from our virtual nutrition and cooking programs have made it clear that there is a hunger for engaging and joyful online learning opportunities like ours.
The opportunity to reach more students, families, and community members in their own homes yields an immediate impact, particularly for those cooking along. For all of these reasons, we will be investing in virtual resources for our community well beyond the pandemic.
I am excited to share some of our successes from the last year:
- The Virtual Teaching Kitchen is open! The Virtual Teaching Kitchen has been welcoming families and community members to online cooking classes that provides the opportunity for participants to prepare a nutritious recipe alongside our chef educator right in their own kitchens. Sessions have welcomed more than 100 participants at once!
- We launched a YouTube Channel and began distributing The Weekly Dish as a way to stay connected and provide additional learning opportunities.
- Virtual Family Cooking Nights have been a huge hit with our out-of-school time program, Vetri Cooking Lab and SNAP-Ed partnership program, EAT360. Participating students are able to invite their family to join a virtual cooking class and, by engaging caregivers and siblings, we are able to expand our impact to students’ families.
- Our Culinary Medicine partners at Perelman School of Medicine collected data comparing our in-person 4th year medical student participants with those completing the program virtually. They found that our virtual culinary medicine offerings were as effective as in-person sessions in students’ self-perceived confidence in counseling patients and understanding dietary recommendations for specific health populations. A manuscript is in the works!
- Through an effort championed by our CARES (Collaboration, Action, Respect, Equity and Sensitivity) Committee, staff had a half-day on Election Day to vote and participate in civic engagement. Vetri Community Partnership is committed to contributing to an equitable society that values the voice of all.
Looking to the future…
- The expansion of our out-of-school time program, Vetri Cooking Lab, has officially begun. Thanks to the support of a generous donor, Vetri Cooking Lab will reach beyond elementary and middle schools to high school students.
- For the first time ever, we are preparing to offer a summer program for school-aged youth in Philadelphia. Details and opportunities for support will be announced soon!
- After a successful Virtual Eat to Empower this fall, we have decided to temporarily take a step back from the Eat to Empower Food Festival. In the coming weeks, we will be rolling out our Corporate Partner Program to support companies with their team building, employee wellness, and marketing goals while supporting nutrition education in Philadelphia.
- We are looking forward to hiring the next CEO of Vetri Community Partnership! Our Board of Directors has spoken with inspiring candidates and we are excited to welcome our next leader in the coming weeks.
As we witness glimmers of a return to “normalcy,” we continue to plan for and envision VCP’s return to in-person programming. As so much remains uncertain, we do not yet have a date for this return. Still, we are prepared to continue providing our community with virtual learning opportunities until in-person, hands-on cooking, and enjoying food together is deemed safe for our participants and staff. We thank you for your continued support and look forward to the brighter days that are ahead!
COO & Interim CEO