Martha’s Choice Marketplace In Montgomery County Launches Community Cooks Program For Food Pantry Clients

Martha’s Choice Marketplace, a ministry of Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CSS) recently received a $2,000 grant from The Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia and a $10,000 grant from the Patricia Kind Family Foundation in support of its newly-established nutrition education program, “Community Cooks.” In addition, the Marketplace partnered with Villanova University’s Center for Obesity Prevention Education (COPE) to bring the program to life.

The Community Cooks initiative is a peer mentor based nutrition and cooking skills program that will provide clients with an educational foundation for selecting and preparing healthy meals. Two COPE dietitians will train fifteen peer mentors regarding healthy meal preparation using foods available in the food pantry. Many of the peer mentors already participate in other Marketplace programs such as Martha’s Coop, a cooperative hybrid that empowers those affected by chronic hunger to facilitate bi-weekly community meetings, food distributions, and resource sharing.

Patrick Walsh, Pantry Manager said, “Community Cooks empowers our clients with an opportunity to learn healthy cooking skills, and also prepares them to present these lessons to their peers from our community.  By attending trainings biweekly throughout the next year, this group of peer mentors will have gained significant knowledge and practice in cooking and presenting these skills to the public.  We hope that many peer mentors choose to be a part of training future mentors in next year’s program.”

Martha’s Choice Marketplace is a choice food pantry located at the Montgomery County Family Service Center in Norristown. Each month, the Marketplace serves approximately 900 families in need with a dignified grocery shopping experience. In addition, the Marketplace is a portal to CSS services offered at the Family Service Center. Services include job search assistance, nutritional education, parenting classes, and more

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Editor’s Note: To learn more Martha’s Choice Marketplace, please visit

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Alaina Longo
Media and Events Specialist 
215-587-3747 (office)