When Johns Hopkins nursing students aren’t hitting the books or practicing clinical skills, they’re promoting healthy diet and lifestyles in Baltimore’s vulnerable communities. These students are cooking up some fun with local residents with support from Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association grants.
Master’s student Anela Kellogg, BS ’07, RN, OCN, volunteers her time cooking at The Baltimore Station, a residential housing facility that helps men in South Baltimore transition from poverty, substance abuse, and homelessness to self-sufficiency.
“Many of their meals are coordinated by volunteers, so the residents often get not-so-healthy meals that are canned or pre-made,” says Kellogg, who is also a clinical instructor at the school. She and alumna Megan Schollenberger, BS ’07, RN, OCN, have been cooking at The Baltimore Station for four years and wanted to extend this opportunity to nursing students. With funding from the Alumni Association, they will be cooking three meals with students and alumni together at The Baltimore Station this spring.
“As a nurse, I make sure to coordinate healthy meals that include lots of vegetables, fiber, and real meat,” says Kellogg. “The guys at the shelter don’t always love the veggies, but every once in a while well get some guys that do.”
It’s not the first time nursing students have used their grants to promote healthy eating. Last spring, nursing student Leah Hart, BS ’10, RN, developed an intergenerational cooking series for local middle schoolers and senior citizens.
“Exposure to cooking together is important because it promotes family and quality time at home,” explains Hart. She wanted to introduce the middle schoolers to fresh, healthy ingredients that they can use at home with their families. Many of them list ice cream, chips, and other packaged foods among their snacks of choice, but plan to incorporate some of the healthier foods they’ve been exposed to through the cooking series into their diet.
Kendell Jordan, a student from East Baltimore’s Tench Tilghman Middle School, says, “I don’t really know how to cook. When I come here, they teach us so when I cook something [at home] I already know the steps.”