It’s a “G” Thing: St. Mary’s serves up lessons in cooking and life for kids with special needs

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“I’ll make you some food," Daniel said.

Infectious smiles, sizzling skillets and satisfied stomachs: all served up in this special class.

"It’s fun!” Linda said.

It's part of the Farm-to-Table program at St. Mary's Hospital for Children, a post-acute car center for kids with complex disabilities.

“It’s a nutrition program that promotes healthy eating for our children through hands-on gardening and interacting cooking classes,” Jillian Quinn, hospital case manager, said.

Led by chefs and volunteers, these kids are ready to show off their chops.

“I’m cutting cucumbers!" Linda, one of the kids, said.

“I’m cutting celery," Monère, one of the kids, smiled.

“Have you cooked before?" I asked another kid. "Yes, [I like this class.]"

And on today's menu, a tomato salad and pasta.

“I just chopped up tomatoes and put them in the bowl,” Daniel, one of the kids, explained.

"[I get joy out of] cooking and eating," Monère said. "Which do you enjoy more," I asked. "Eating!”

Finally, it's time to do just that.

“It’s good!" Monère smiled.

“I love this salad because it’s good for us,” another kid said.

This program's not just handing out healthy food, but also a huge helping of hearty skills.

“They get to work on their fine motor skills and their social skills,”  Quinn said. “These kids they’re so motivating, so outgoing, so special!”

“Just seeing all the positive from everybody, all the staff helping out,” Jamie Holman, one of the kids' father, said. “He’s been smiling for the last hour and a half, just seeing him cut tomatoes and cutting pasta, it’s unbelievable.”

“Seeing everyone participate, it’s really cool,” Monère smiled.

Even those who can't speak for themselves.

“My daddy would love to see me on TV," Lindsey, one of the kids, said through an app on her iPad.

A sweet ending to a successful and savory session.



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