By Jeff Osborne
LIVE OAK COUNTY – Opportunities to learn cooking skills, traditions from other countries and search the community garden for a variety of fruits and vegetables were enjoyed by children from George West and Three Rivers who attended a Kids Can Cook! event on Thursday, June 6, at the Live Oak Outreach Learning Center.
A series of eight classes is underway, with seven more scheduled that will continue from 6:30 to 8 p.m. each Thursday at the learning center, 3454 U.S. Highway 281, on the east side of the freeway.
The theme of the series, “Around the World in Eight Weeks,” gives children a chance to sample cuisine from all continents — including Antarctica.
Led by volunteer Rachel King, the series is designed to provide children with basic cooking skills while also teaching them about the cultures of the world.
On the first night of classes, eager and excited children mixed ingredients for Canadian maple fudge, heated it in a microwave and poured their creation into a pan to have it cool so they could take it home and sample it later.
Fifteen children participated in the first class. Funded by the Live Oak Outreach Learning Center, the classes are free, and all ages are welcome. A parent or guardian must attend the event with their children.
What does King enjoy most about the children’s classes?
“The creativity of the kids,” she said. “Also, being able to see them gain confidence and an awareness of food, nutrition and the Lord’s bounty.”
During the visit to the community garden, the children scattered about and enthusiastically searched for fruits and vegetables, almost like an Easter egg hunt in a garden setting.
“The garden helps to tie everything together,” King said. “The kids need to be able to see that. They are able to get a better idea of how the Lord feeds us and how we can serve the Lord.”
Live Oak Outreach is a mission of churches in George West and Three Rivers, but the organization serves all of Live Oak and McMullen counties.
The nonprofit agency is under the direction of Jo-Ann Thomas, and others working there are volunteers.
It was someone’s vision that the outreach program teach classes, and that was finally fulfilled in 2018, King said.
“This is what God has put it on our hearts to do,” she said. “It has to be the Lord leading it in order for it to be successful.”
The building was packed with participants and parents/grandparents on the first night of classes. Told a bigger building may be needed, King said she is open to God’s direction.
“If that’s what God wants,” she said. “He has been really generous in how all of this came together.”
She said Live Oak Outreach has been blessed, and in turn the organization wants to be a blessing to people in the community. The cooking classes are one way the program is reaching out to children.
There is no requirement to attend all classes. Children can select one they are interested in or can choose to attend multiple classes.
Upcoming classes include:
• June 20, Europe, French eclairs
• June 27, Africa, Bhajias (potatoes)
• July 11, Asia, Dahl (lentils) and rice
• July 18, Eastern Europe, borscht (soup)
• July 25, Antarctica, sledging biscuits (crackers)
• Aug. 1, Australia, Anzac biscuits
Live Oak Outreach also offers cooking and crafts classes for adults, as well as other children’s classes throughout the year.
Information about the classes can be found on the Live Oak Outreach Facebook page, or by calling the center at 361-449-1860.
Jeff Osborne is the editor of The Progress. He can be reached at 361-786-3022 or email@example.com.