Ritzville Cooking School Attracts Community

December 01, 2010 | Kathy Marson

Members of the Ritzville (Wash.) Church were excited to see a big turnout at their Healthy Helper cooking school. They've held cooking schools in the past, but have never seen the community come out in such force.

The town of Ritzville has a population of about 1,700 and 26 people from the community (1.5 percent) came out to the cooking school. To put that into perspective, if 1.5 percent of Spokane, Wash., came to a local church that would be 3,033 people.

"It filled up our church," says Shane Hochstetler, Ritzville Church's Bible worker coordinator, who teams with his wife, Amy. They were happy to see a general interest out there for health and a willingness to come to the Adventist church.

Melody Prettyman came from Ohio to hold the Healthy Helper cooking school. On the first night, she talked about health and natural remedies. The second night was a demonstration of a full meal with participants enjoying both the preparation and the consumption.

The whole Ritzville Church became involved in the preparation and advertising for the cooking school. They hand delivered many posters and fliers, and even the local newspaper covered their event.

Following the cooking school, church members held a booth at their local fair and heard many comments of appreciation for what the Adventist church is doing for the health of the community.

"One activity we are doing to follow up the cooking school is to hold a monthly community vegetarian potluck and recipe exchange," says Hochstetler. "We invited those who came to our cooking school." Even though only a few came, this has been exciting for the church members. They hope this event will grow with time.

One lady attending the cooking school was greatly encouraged and is hoping a change in her lifestyle will reap positive results. Hochstetler says, "We should be healthy people and we can share this knowledge with our community."

The Ritzville Church has nearly 30 members. Other health-oriented events they offer include an exercise group that meets for one hour Monday through Thursday and, in the future, they plan to hold a stop-smoking clinic.