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Learn about Books & Cooks Project from Camden County Library

NEWS RELEASE October 27, 2016
Contact: Mark Amorosi, Public Information Officer, (856) 772-1636 ext. 7323

Residents invited to showcase event at Ferry Ave., Saturday, Nov. 5

Mikela Allen, coordinator of basic literacy for Literacy Volunteers of America, works with students in the Camden County Library’s Books & Cooks program preparing a chicken Caesar salad and soup at the One-Stop Career Center in Camden Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (Camden County Library photo/Mark Amorosi)

VOORHEES, NJ – October 27, 2016 – Camden County Library will showcase its Books & Cooks project with a special event at the Riletta L. Cream Ferry Ave. Branch Library, Saturday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m. – 12 noon. Books & Cooks is the Camden County Library’s innovative project designed to promote food literacy in those South Jersey communities designated as food deserts.

The highlight program, “Reading Labels and Serving Size Surprise” will be presented by Stacey Antine, MS RDN of HealthBarn USA, one of the library’s Books & Cooks partner. Antine will offer guidance on how to select natural foods like whole vegetables and fruits versus packaged goods, and then how to interpret nutrition labels on packaged food focused on natural ingredients vs. preservatives and additives. She will also demonstrate how to make a “Harvest Wheat Berry Salad” as an example of a healthy, simple recipe most people could make at home.

Antine is the author of “Appetite for Life:  The Thumbs Up, No Yucks Guide to Getting Your Kid to be a Greater Eater” published by HarperOne.

The library proposed and won a grant from the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development to address the need for food and culinary literacy in places like Camden that have been designated as ‘food deserts’ by the US Department of Agriculture.

Currently over thirty classes and workshops are scheduled with more to be planned through May of 2017. They will address audiences with a variety of needs including ESL, basic literacy, nutrition-conscious parents and those seeking to provide healthy meals on a limited budget.

A supermarket tour at the Price Rite on Mt. Ephraim Ave. in Camden is scheduled for November 12 which will also be conducted  by HealthBarn USA to demonstrate how and where to find the most nutritious food for the best price on a trip to the local supermarket.

“We are excited about Books and Cooks because people can become literate in many different ways. Food is both a universal language and a universal need that we can use to advance literacy skills across cultures,” says Camden County Library Director Linda A. Devlin. She adds, “The versatility of the mobile kitchen will allow us to reach many parts of the county through our branches and off-site through our partners.” 

Aside from ESL and adult literacy audiences, the Books & Cooks initiative is also offering the general public classes on a variety of food and cooking topics. “Healthy Dips & Dippers – Kids Can Cook!” and “Eating the Alphabet – a Preschool Cooking Adventure!” are just two of the programs for children scheduled at Bellmawr and other branches of the library system.

In conjunction with its Books & Cooks project, the Camden County Library started a food drive that has clearly marked donation bins at each of the library’s eight branches. Donations of non-perishable food items will be collected by designated organizations in the area that each branch serves. The food drive is expected to run to May of 2017.


Established in 1921, Camden County Library System seeks to meet the recreational, informational and educational needs of its customers with locations in Bellmawr, Camden, Gloucester Township, Haddon Township, Merchantville, Winslow Township and Voorhees.   The Library is governed and supported by the Camden County Board of Freeholders and the Camden County Library Commission.

– Literacy instructor Sevena Sacks directs participants in Camden County Library’s Books & Cooks program as they prepare dressing for a Caesar salad at the  Camden County One-Stop Career Center on Mt. Ephraim Ave. Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (Camden County Library photo/Mark Amorosi)

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