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Culinary cookoff celebrating family, fun and food

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You could find kids, families and food inside the gymnasium of Brookside School 54 Thursday, April 11 for their 3rd annual culinary cook off.

Audrey Andrew has four grandchildren who attend the school, and she sat on the bleachers watching local organizations set up tables with different ingredients.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Indiana, iHeartRadio, Indiana Fever and Common Threads, a national nutrition education nonprofit, hosted the celebration.

RELATED: How to start growing your own food

“It’s something to do with the class they’ve been taking with a chef to learn how to cook different foods and stuff and then Anthem’s here and the Fever’s here,” said Andrew.

“I love it because they need to learn that. Everybody needs to learn how to cook and make their own meals, especially for when they get older.”

Culinary cookoff

Culinary cookoff celebrating family, fun and food
rookside said their Eagles are learning about ways to make healthy snacks at home. . (Photo/provided by IPS Brookside Elementary School #54)

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Indiana partnered with iHeartMedia and Common Threads to provide students, families and staff with cooking and nutrition education.

The program is designed to encourage lifelong healthy habits.

It is a continuation of the partnership that began in 2022, when Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced it was funding a food pantry and produce garden at Brookside.

“Especially here in the near East Promised Neighborhood, food insecurity can be very real for some of our families, whether it’s a lack of transportation or access to the closest grocery store that has healthy fruits and vegetables,” said Jeremy Baugh, the principal at Brookside School 54.

Baugh said being able to provide and give access where the families are already at is a way for everyone to have the resources that they need.

The program seeks to provide a permanent resource for students and families to access and grow healthy food. More than 80,000 pounds of food and 3,000 hours of accompanying education have been provided.

Culinary cookoff celebrating family, fun and food
To date, this larger initiative with Common Threads has provided more than 80,000 pounds of food and 3,000 hours of accompanying education to the Brookside School 54 community. (Photos/Blue Anthem Cross Blue Shield)

Helping IPS families

The event featured a series of interactive culinary programming, and students preparing a dish to face off against dishes made by Common Threads Chef Jared Batson.

“Our mission is to improve the health of humanity and obviously we’re going to do that by improving the health of Hoosiers. There’s a correlation with connecting healthy food, healthy mind, healthy body and being able to put those behaviors into practice for children,” said Beth Keyser, president of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Indiana.

Keyser said it was exciting to see kids being engaged and enjoying learning about nutritious foods which create a healthy relationship with food.

“Here at Brookside, we’re a very important part of our neighborhood. For us, we want to pair alongside our parents and our community to create safe and healthy environments for them,” said Baugh.

Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at (317) 762-7853 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON. 

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