The sweet aroma of black beans and savory chicken fills the room at the Buckner Family Hope Center at Wynnewood in Dallas. The families of the Wynnewood community are learning how to make black bean salad.

On July 13, the Family Hope Center held “Food Label Smart,” a nutrition class to help families understand the benefits of buying nutritious food and paying attention to food labels while grocery shopping.

As a part of the Feed Your Potential 365 campaign, Buckner teamed up with Aramark to host a series of nutrition classes at the Family Hope Center. The classes are held twice a month from March to September.

Feed Your Potential 365 is a public health and well-being campaign created by Aramark, a global leader in food, facilities and uniform services.

“Feed Your Potential helps connect what you eat with how you thrive and function in a single day,” said Cheryl Williams, Family Hope Center director. “These classes help those at the Family Hope Center who struggle with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

This campaign helps parents set realistic goals for themselves and their families, build a sense of community with other members and maintain their personal medical conditions as well as their children’s.

“This is more than a class,” Cheryl said. “It impacts their whole lifestyle – how they eat, how they shop, how they cook and prepare food.”

Members participating in the Feed Your Potential campaign make an effort to learn new recipes, pay closer attention to food labels and make healthier choices for themselves and their families.

“Before this class, I didn’t know much about nutrition and reading food labels,” said Connie Miller. “Now I can’t imagine life without eating healthy and nutritious food.”

Connie’s son Bryan benefits from the class as well.

“This class opened my eyes to look at nutrition facts on food. I’ve been eating a lot healthier since I started coming to these classes in March.”

Not only do families benefit from this class, but it has given them a sense of belonging too.

“They really look forward to coming to this class twice a month,” Cheryl said. “It has created such a thirst for a new way of doing things. It’s about the fellowship for our ladies too. They like to team up and hold each other accountable”.

Allison Dolkiewicz and Konjet Haregewoyen, clinical dietitians from Aramark, also attended Food Label Smart to give nutrition facts and lead an interactive food label activity for the members.

The members sat in groups to work together during the activity. Allison and Konjet took each group to the kitchen to show them how to prepare a black bean salad and give them the opportunity to ask questions. Afterward, they tasted their creations.

“It’s full of flavor and smells really good,” said Cruzita Rodriguez. “When I get home, I’m going to make black bean soup and grilled chicken for my family.”

Written by Odufa Atsegbua, a summer intern with Buckner Communications. Video by Trey Hernandez III, Buckner video intern.

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