The families we serve are at the heart of everything we do at TABLE. By collaborating with and listening to the parents of the kids who participate in our programs, we have created programs that better address their specific needs and hired engagement staff to make our family relationships meaningful and intentional which has ultimately led to our programs being more impactful for local kids.
We’ve been especially busy this summer with a variety of family engagement initiatives to support both our food access and nutrition education programs including:
- Conducting a nutrition education focus group among our families
- Hosting a virtual “eating healthy” workshop
- Calling each of our participating families (hundreds of calls!) to update our records.
- Meeting with families 1:1 over coffee to hear their stories and to find out what we can do better to support them.
TABLE staff agrees that meeting and talking with our families is one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of our jobs. Everyone has a story to share and we are so grateful to our families who open their hearts and trust us to help them each and every week.
Tips and Tricks For Eating Healthy
Nutritionist Fatima Calderon hosted a free virtual workshop for families that provided a general overview of nutritional information for kids of all ages, and tips and tricks for parents to help children eat healthy and learn good eating habits. The workshop was in Spanish, a language that over 30% of our families speak, helping to encourage greater participation.
In a post-workshop survey, participants had this to say:
“I am better informed and the best thing is that my 14-year-old daughter was listening to the information!”
“Everything was very interesting. I liked the strategies that we can implement with our young children when they don’t want to eat vegetables.”
We asked, “What does healthy eating mean to you and your family now (after the workshop)?” One mom said, “Sharing, interaction, walking outdoors, and healthy food.”
Let’s Talk About Early Childhood Nutrition
Did you know TABLE serves kids 0-20 years old? Because knowing the nutrition needs of children in this age range is very diverse, we wanted to bring some of our families together to discuss early childhood nutrition services. Specifically from zero to five years old.
It was a very engaging group of families with so many great things to share. And, we learned about what kinds of ways we can potentially help the families we serve in the future.
Collaborating Over Coffee
We are so excited about the recent coffee meetings our family engagement team had with TABLE families. The goal of the meetings was to begin building relationships and trust with our families and to hear their feedback on the services they are receiving. These meetings were a great way to connect with our families, listen to their needs, and hear their stories.
At the end of one meeting a parent said, “Thank you all from the bottom of my heart on behalf of me and my family. This is a great help. Thank you for your time and efforts.”
Prior to COVID, families would have to re-enroll in TABLE’s program every year at the start of the school year by filling out an application. As we transitioned our food access program, TABLE@Home, to home deliveries instead of school delivery and made it a year-round service, we began a new process for re-enrollment.
Each summer, TABLE staff members are given a list of current families to call. The goal of these calls is to verify our families want to continue their service, update their contact information, and verify food allergies and preferences.
While these calls can take a while, they are a great way for staff to engage with our families, for our families to hear a friendly voice on the other end of the line, and for us to ensure we are providing our families with the services they need.
As one parent told a staff member during a call, “Thank you so much for everything you do. I am so grateful!”