BUCKHANNON, West Virginia– A West Virginia Wesleyan College senior cooked up a healthy recipes initiative that was implemented this summer at the Upshur Parish House.
Caroline Fulks ’23, of Bridgeport, West Virginia, is a political science and international studies double major and Service Scholar who has made the Upshur Parish House and Crosslines Food Pantry her service site since freshman year. This summer, she was granted a summer internship though the West Virginia Annual Conference.
Fulks worked with Upshur Parish House executive director Kristi Wilkerson ‘99 who brought the idea of planning healthy recipes to her from a Hunger Summit hosted by Mountaineer Food Bank.
Wilkerson said, “One session demonstrated how to incorporate healthier options into food pantries. One example that really sparked my interest was offering herbs and spices to decrease the need for salt, sugar and fat, in recpies. I was delighted to learn that Caroline also had a passion for healthy food pantry options for our neighbors in need.”
In the spring, Fulks applied for and received a grant from the United Methodist Foundation of West Virginia to furnish meal kits to the neighbors (clients) who visit the Parish House.
The meal kits contain all the ingredients to make three healthy recipes that incorporate low sodium and low sugar foods.
“I found recipes that would fit the best and find recipes that were easy to cook for people who didn’t have access to a lot of kitchen equipment,” she said.
Fulks settled on chicken taco soup, roasted chick peas and no bake peanut butter balls, shopped for ingredients and made 150 bags that also included full bags of herbs and spices to add seasoning to the produce the pantry already gives out.
With leftover funds from the grant, measuring cups and reusable grocery bags were included.
“Everyone who has received a bag has been very positive and excited about trying new recipes,” she said.
Fulks prepared samples of the dishes for people to try and received very positive feedback about the project.
“We had a people come back and tell us that they made the recipes and loved them,” she added.
Fulks created a survey to gain more feedback on continuing the project in the future.
Wilkerson added, “We truely appreciate the grant provided by the United Methodist Foundation that allowed us to begin this program. We are focusing on the holistic well-being of our neighbors and we remain committed to offering healthy options for mind, mody and spirt. Caroline has been the perfect person to implement such a program and we look forward to further developing this concept in the future.”
ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA WESLEYAN COLLEGE
West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) is a private, four-year residential liberal arts college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. A tradition of excellence for more than 130 years, West Virginia Wesleyan is home to 14 Fulbright Scholars. The Princeton Review ranked Wesleyan one of its 2022 Best Colleges in the Southeastern Region of the United States. U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best College Rankings designated Wesleyan a “Top 20” Best Value – Regional Universities (South) and one of the “Top 75” Regional Universities (South). WVWC offers students more than 40 majors and 40 minors; graduate programs in athletic training, business administration, creative writing, and nursing; 22 NCAA Division II athletic programs; multiple performing arts groups; and more than 70 organizations. Founded in 1890, the College is closely affiliated with the United Methodist Church and abides by the Wesley doctrine that emphasizes service to others. For more information, visit wvwc.edu.