Love INC teaches how to make every dollar count |

Love INC teaches how to make every dollar count

Learning to manage a household budget, shop and cook homemade meals are important steps towards independence and out of poverty. Sisters Pam, left, and Alison Towner learn how to make meat loaf during Love INC classes in December.

— Learning how to make every dollar count and how to cook meals on a tight budget are critical skills taught during the “Cooking on a Budget” class offered by Love in the Name of Christ of the Yampa Valley starting Jan. 25 in Craig.

"We have people call every year asking for financial aid. We noticed that people needed tools to make better choices," said Love INC Executive Director Pat Jones.

The classes teach basic life skills and are offered free to anyone who wants to learn.

"Anybody who feels that they are overwhelmed, can't stay afloat and need help or are missing some steps on how to budget," said Love INC Office Coordinator Tammy Workman.

The personal finance skills co-taught by Workman and Jones are based on the Chalmers Center Faith and Finances course.

The Chalmers Center "equips churches with resources and tools to walk alongside people who are poor, breaking the spiritual, social and material bonds of poverty," according to

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Lessons include how to balance a checkbook, keeping better records and where and how to cut things from the budget. Jones’s daughter, Faith Jones, helped add lessons about buying food and prepare meals within a tight budget.

"It's not just for someone who has a low income, everyone has to learn how to manage finances and faith so it touches your whole life," Workman said.

Classes are held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and are held in a relaxed setting at the Calvary Baptist Church.

"No one has to cook supper before they come," Jones said. "We start with a meal, time to chat, faith and finance budget class for 90 minutes and then 30 minutes of self-help classes from the Yampa Valley Pregnancy for the first six weeks then the cooking class for the last six weeks."

To encourage participants with low or fixed incomes to attend, $10 is awarded to each person attending the self-help sessions, up to $60. And those with low or fixed incomes who complete the cooking classes earn a crock pot, cookbook and $50 gift card for a Brother’s Custom Processing meat bundle.

"During the cooking class, we provide 45 or more recipes that will help students stretch their food dollars," Jones said. "Many recipes are especially formulated to make the best use of food received by food pantries or commodities distributions."

These are skills not always learned at school or home.

"I think when kids are in school learning it they are teenagers just focused on getting through school, and it's hard to grasp and hang onto those skills," Jones said.

Students from the fall class are using their new skills and crockpots.

"They were very family oriented and focused on how to save money," said Julie Glaze who took the fall class. "It has helped me to be able to cook a decent meal."

A friend encouraged Kellie Crawford to take the fall class.

"I had not learned how to cook," said Crawford. "It's definitely a good thing to try out to see if you're interested as it really helps in the end."

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

Cooking on a Budget

Free 12-week program that begins with a meal and is followed by a Chalmers Center Faith and Finance lesson then self-help or cooking classes.

When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays starting Jan. 25

Where: Calvary Baptist Church, 1050 Yampa Ave., Craig

— Classes are also held in Routt and Rio Blanco Counties upon demand. To learn more or register, call 970-826-4400.