Food Bank of South Jersey Launches Youth Nutrition Outreach Training Program in Salem County

Fifteen High School Students Will Learn to Become “Nutrition Ambassadors” Within Their Communities.

Pennsauken, NJ, March 11, 2015 --( Expanding its focus on educational programming, the Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) today began conducting a five-week course that will equip 15 Salem County high school students with nutrition basics and empower them with healthy cooking skills.

The course, called Youth Nutrition Outreach Training (YNOT), is part of FBSJ’s Healthy Living Initiative (HLI) and is based on USDA MyPlate guidelines. Through hands-on instruction and mentoring, YNOT participants will learn how to prepare and present a cooking demonstration and to build public speaking skills. The goal is for the students to develop the knowledge base and confidence to become ‘nutrition ambassadors’, capable of influencing peers, family, and neighbors to value the connection between food choices and health.

FBSJ began offering YNOT courses in the summer of 2014 to school sites in Camden, NJ. The YNOT course in Salem County, which starts March 9 and concludes April 6, was made possible through a grant from the Salem Health and Wellness Foundation. The 15 participating students are from Salem High School and from an after-school program offered through the United Way of Salem County.

Extending the reach of HLI to Salem County has been a strategic aim for FBSJ, according to Raquel Moreno, Senior Manager of FBSJ’s Healthy Living Initiative.

“The high poverty rate in Salem makes it very difficult for many teens and their families to access nutritious foods,” notes Moreno. “Despite the fact that Salem County is agriculturally rich, outlets to purchase nutrient-dense foods in Salem City, like fresh produce, are limited. For some Salem residents, there may be a knowledge gap in understanding the full relationship between health and diet. Our goal with YNOT is to prepare youth to share within their communities the message of health made possible through good cooking and smarter food choices. At FBSJ, we want to deliver YNOT and other nutrition education programs to young adults in South Jersey. We can change behaviors, and help contribute to healthier lifestyles that can be sustained.”

During the 5-week YNOT program in Salem, students will first learn the fundamentals of safe food handling and general nutrition concepts based on MyPlate. They progress to mastering basics on how to conduct a successful cooking demonstration at a community location, and work on their public speaking skills. The coursework continues with students forming teams and practicing to develop and execute their own healthy meal recipes, and concludes with a formal cooking demonstration and presentation of YNOT principles to an audience of peers and relatives.

For more information on FBSJ’s Healthy Living Initiative and its selection of available cooking classes, visit Contact Raquel Moreno by email at or by phone at 856-662-4884, Extension 132.
Food Bank of South Jersey
Lou Martelli