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Lincoln Academy teaching meal prep essentials

Stillwater’s Lincoln Academy teaching meal prep essentials
Stillwater’s Lincoln Alternative Academy students learn to earn kitchen appliances

(Stillwater, Oklahoma, December 15, 2023) - Lincoln Alternative Academy recently concluded another step in an impactful initiative aimed at providing essential cooking skills to children using Instant Pots and Air Fryers. This program was made possible thanks to the generous support of Simmons Bank and the collaborative efforts of local experts Dea Rash from OSU Payne County Extension, Trinity Brown from OSU Pawnee County Extension, and Rachael Condley from Our Daily Bread.

“I’m so thankful to Simmons Bank and OSU Payne County Extension for providing these students with not only the knowledge of how to use this appliance, but also the ability to take one home to use for their families!” says Condley, who was instrumental to the program by securing program funds from Simmons Bank. “It’s knowledge in action, and it’s incredibly special. This entire project has been a joy to be a part of.” 

Simmons’ Make A Difference Grant funded crucial resources such as Instant Pots and air fryers, along with a freezer, refrigerator, and insulated freezer bags, which enabled the Marketplace, Lincoln’s onsite food bank, to expand its food offerings.

“As a community bank, we realize helping the community pays countless dividends at all levels,” says Kevin Fowler, Stillwater Market President at Simmons Bank.  “Investing in our communities is a core component of Simmons Bank's business and culture, so we’re proud to support organizations like Our Daily Bread who enrich the lives of those in the Stillwater community. We greatly value our relationship with both Lincoln Academy and Our Daily Bread and have seen firsthand the positive impact on students of their programs such as the cooking classes”.

As part of the program, 50 students completed a series of three classes coordinated by Lincoln Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Carla Harnly: a food safety session, an Instant Pot education workshop, and a cooking lab, earning them free Instant Pots. The involvement of Dea Rash and Trinity Brown from OSU Payne County and Pawnee County Extension offices significantly enriched the curriculum, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience for students in culinary arts, food safety, and healthy cooking practices. This hands-on approach ensured that students not only learned cooking skills but also gained essential knowledge about food safety and appliance operation. Last year, a similar program earned 58 students air fryers.

"Some of our students are food insecure. Some of them are on their own, and others may be the primary earner for their family," says Principal George Horton. “This program has helped empower our students to provide for themselves. We’re happy to be able to help them learn the skills they need, and connect them to the vital equipment, and even the ingredients necessary to be able to cook at home. It’s a great feeling to know our students are well nourished and more independent.”

This week, Simmons Bank approved a $25,000 grant to fund the Lincoln Academy Marketplace expansion programming for a second year. Plans are already underway for potential new classes, including a microwave cooking session, aimed at continuing to foster students' life skills and interest in culinary arts.

"We’re so excited to be able to continue this programming. It’s been such a hit with our students, and with me. They’ve made some delicious meals that I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy during those classes" says Horton. "We greatly appreciate the financial support and instructional expertise of our partners on this program. We're excited to explore more opportunities like this in the future."



Barry Fuxa
[email protected]