11/17/2012 10:16 am ET Updated Jan 17, 2013

How -- and Why -- Cooking Matters

As we prepare to gather with food and family at the Thanksgiving table next week, my thoughts turn to families like Stacy Hanno's, who are struggling to nourish their families every day.

Stacy is a hard-working mom, student and Army wife whom our Cooking Matters team met in Colorado earlier this year. Her family's budget is tight, and putting healthy, affordable meals on the dinner table each night felt like an impossible task.

Education clearly matters to the Hannos: both Stacy and her husband are in school. But a different kind of education has had an impact on their family this year. Stacy took a six-week Cooking Matters course and the food skills she learned now help her save between $100 and $150 a month on food. Her story was recently featured in Walmart's Live Better video series and I encourage you to see how lessons like strategic grocery shopping and practical nutrition information have impacted her family's life.

New research from Professor Craig Gundersen, one of the nation's foremost hunger experts, affirms the Hanno family's experience. Gunderson found that "improved financial management skills" is one of five evidence-based factors that can make the most impact on feeding our nation's hungry children. Our Cooking Matters courses and Shopping Matters tours teach these types of skills to help families at risk of hunger maximize their resources. Professor Gundersen's research was funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation, a national sponsor of Cooking Matters along with Walmart. Both are champions for bringing food skills education to more families at risk of hunger, and we're grateful for their support.

Stacy Hanno's story is an important reminder of the power of education in creating lasting change. It's a core component of the No Kid Hungry campaign's strategy to end childhood hunger in America. Thanks for all you do to make this work possible.