The Adults and Youth United in Development Association, Inc. (AYUDA) is a bilingual, grassroots, non-profit corporation founded in 1992 for the purpose of advancing and bettering the quality of life of El Paso County’s low-income individuals and families. The organization accomplishes this by advocating for self-sufficiency and positive change through the building of stronger, healthier, civically-engaged communities; and providing direct services that are designed to eliminate the many obstacles to safe drinking water, affordable and decent housing, a quality education, a clean environment, and good health and nutrition.
AYUDA had a need to develop projects related to healthy cooking and the promotion of good nutrition. The existing kitchen is inadequate in size and does not have the correct appliances for large-scale food preparation and cooking to satisfy the needs of the local community. To remain consistent with AYUDA’s 5-year strategic plan of developing healthy cooking programs as well as nutritional curricula, they must build an adequate commercial kitchen.
USDA Rural Development awarded a $50,000 Community Facilities Grant to AYUDA to assist with the renovation of the existing kitchen into a commercial kitchen. AYUDA will provide a local contribution in the amount of $37,500. The completed commercial kitchen will be readily available as a training center and will also be utilized to cook and bake meals for members of the local community.
"Learning about diet and healthy eating will empower our community to achieve a healthier well being,” stated Olivia Figueroa, AYUDA Executive Director. "Healthy eating is the base of a healthy community."
Community Facilities funds are made available under the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) initiative. KYF2 is an USDA-wide effort to strengthen local and regional food systems.