AmeriCorps Direct Members to work with our Cooking Matters team.
Cooking Matters is helping end childhood hunger by inspiring families to make healthy, affordable food choices. Our programs teach parents and caregivers with limited food budgets to shop for and cook healthy meals. Cooking Matters is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty. We offer interactive grocery store tours, hands-on cooking classes, smartphone apps and other resources – all free, and run through trusted local community partners. Cooking Matters serves families across the country and is a trusted leader in food skills education, conducting research and supporting partners that reach families in need.
AmeriCorps programs provide opportunities for Americans to make an intensive commitment to service. The AmeriCorps network of local, state, and national service programs engages more than 80,000 Americans in projects around the nation each year.
The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance in Little Rock, Arkansas, through our member food banks, relief agencies, volunteers and corporate partners, is committed to providing programs, food resources, education and advocacy to feed Arkansas’s hungry.
As a lead partner in the No Kid Hungry campaign we focus on many aspects of the health and nutrition of children and families, including School Breakfast, After School & Summer Meals, Cooking Matters & Cooking Matters at the Store. In addition, the Alliance has multiple food access programs including SNAP Outreach, membership building for pantries and other agencies, food sourcing and logistics and the Gleaning Program.
The Cooking Matters AmeriCorps member will work with Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance Cooking Matters staff to implement programs that teach parents and caregivers with limited food budgets to shop for and cook healthy meals. Member responsibilities and duties may include, but are not limited to:
Program Coordination:
  • Work with chefs, nutrition educators and agency/site managers to implement courses and tours using Cooking Matters core curriculum and Cooking Matters at the Store curriculum with emphasis on serving the priority audience of caregivers of children age 0-5.
  • Complete all preparations for class including, but not limited to, assembling and transporting equipment, materials, and groceries, and preparing volunteer staff.
  • Complete program evaluation and other program reporting documentation as necessary.
  • Participate in actively seeking out, working with, and maintaining positive relationships with agencies serving low-income clients to host Cooking Matters courses and tours.
  • Assist with the development of Cooking Matters outreach materials and handouts for Cooking Matters audience, as needed.
Volunteer Management and Training:
  • Provide volunteer instructors with training and materials needed to teach courses and tours and make sure they follow procedures and course guidelines.
  • Support and manage volunteer instructors during class to make sure they have all required materials and communicate key messages.
  • Provide timely and consistent communications with volunteers.
  • Identify and participate in opportunities to recruit volunteers. Build relationships with chefs, dietitians, nutritionists and other potential volunteers to maintain enough trained instructors to reach course goals.
  • Provide recognition of volunteers.
  • Help with special events such as volunteer appreciation/recognition events.
  • Work with supervisor to set personal goals and follow the work plan created for the AmeriCorps National Direct Member.
    • Maintain a high level of working knowledge related to hunger, nutrition standards, regulations, and trends.
    • Collaborate with other Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance departments, as necessary, to ensure high quality service to individuals within our network of agencies.
  • Ensure all necessary course reporting is in order in database and network resource center.
  • Complete additional reporting and communications contributions as required, which may include blog posts, newsletters, photographs, and volunteer and participant story gathering.
  • Submit timesheets in accordance with AmeriCorps and Share Our Strength guidelines.
  • Participate in national, state and other trainings as requested – some may require travel out of state.
Cooking Matters AmeriCorps members are part of local and national Cooking Matters teams and take part in all associated training and activities. AmeriCorps members will receive orientation training from Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters staff as well as Partner Cooking Matters staff. Members will be part of a peer network of AmeriCorps members from around the nation and be a part of regular training opportunities including monthly webinars and two in-person retreats.
Work is performed in a variety of office and kitchen settings inside and outside Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. Member will use computer and phones extensively. Regularly lifts, moves and carries objects of up to 50 pounds, such as food and classroom supplies. Exposure to a variety of foods in residential, community, and industrial kitchens. In a class or tour setting, may stand and work at counters and stoves for extended periods of time. Frequently works outside normal working hours such as evenings and weekends, and will drive frequently due to work performed in the community.
  • At least 18 years of age
  • High school diploma, or GED
  • Interest in nutrition and/or culinary arts
  • Driver’s license and good driving record
  • Public speaking skills
  • Computer skills
  • Ability to balance a variety of tasks simultaneously
  • Volunteer management experience preferred
  • Experience working with youth and/or adults in formal and/or informal education programs
  • Enrollment contingent on successful passing of criminal background search (including a FBI fingerprint-based criminal history check).
Full-time member term: 1,700 hours of service within a 12-month period. Position to start September 3rd, 2018 and must complete 1,700 hours by September 2nd, 2019.
The full-time member will receive a living allowance of $13,712.00, a basic health plan, training, childcare (based on income eligibility), and an AmeriCorps education award of $5,920 upon successful completion of service.
For questions about Cooking Matters AmeriCorps National Direct program, contact: Chef Ellen Damaschino, Program Manager, at
To apply, please visit the AmeriCorps Recruitment Site at Equal Opportunity Employer.
Any questions about the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance can be sent to Cooking Matters Director Alex Handfinger, or (501)-399-9999