Dear Friends,

This Saturday night marks what would have been our 3rd Annual Eat to Empower Food Festival and Dinner Series.  Eat to Empower is always a special night for us as we are able to bring together hundreds of like-minded individuals, restaurants and companies to raise money to directly benefit our innovative nutrition education that takes place in over 75 sites across the Philadelphia area.  While we are not able to see you in person tomorrow, I want you to know we truly value the support that has been given over the past year, especially in these very difficult past 6 weeks.   

Up until this pandemic, our programs were designed for in-person, hands-on experiences.  In the past year, we had engaged more than 20,000 local residents in learning about nutritious food choices and how to prepare more vegetable forward dishes at home. Due to the continued stay at home orders, our team has been hard at work to ensure that we are able to keep in contact with our communities and offer opportunities for learning at a distance. 

We have some exciting initiatives that are about to be launched that I would love to share:

Beginning on Monday, April 27, our educators will be preparing meals for essential workers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. These meals will be portioned to feed a family of four and will be distributed to medical workers, maintenance staff, and unpaid residents to take home as they end their shifts.  Our goal is to provide meals for 60 families twice a week for a total of 480 meals per week. We are so thankful for the PHL COVID-19 Fund for the financial support of this project and the Fitler Club for the generous use of their kitchen for meal prep.

Vetri Cooking Lab is going virtual.  Our Education Team has been hard at work transitioning our STEAM-based, out-of-school time program to accommodate our new world of distance learning. Beginning on April 27th, we will begin offering Zoom classes with our partners at Steppingstones Scholars with plans to offer weekly, virtual Vetri Cooking Lab to partner schools in the coming weeks.

Launching soon—Virtual Culinary Medicine.  A new elective for 3rd year students at Perelman School of Medicine will run for two weeks starting on May 4th with daily culinary nutrition sessions that support medical topics, lectures, and readings.

Our EAT360 educators are adapting their classrooms to engage students and families through livestream nutrition education sessions. While Philadelphia schools may be suspended, our team continues to connect with school leaders to build innovative opportunities to promote wellness and create sustainable change now, and in the coming months.

Finally, we have been doing our best to keep in touch with our community by offering resources, recipes, and cooking tips to our entire network via our social media Virtual Cooking Club & weekly e-newsletter, The Weekly Dish.   

We thank you for your continued support and again are sorry we will not be enjoying Eat to Empower with you tomorrow night.  In light of the event’s postponement, I hope you will consider making a contribution to help more people develop the skills necessary to prepare nutritious meals at home.

These skills are needed now, more than ever.

Kind Regards,

Marlene Olshan
Vetri Community Partnership CEO