CHEF Cooking, Healthy Eating & Food


The CHEF (Cooking, Healthy Eating and Food.) program was created as part of United Way's health initiative. The program is targeted at increasing the access and consumption of healthy food and drink in elementary school aged children and their families in Stanislaus County. CHEF launched in September 2015 at two local schools, Caswell Elementary in Ceres and Bret Harte Elementary in Modesto and is designed to create long-term healthy eating habits through the universal art of cooking. 

The cornerstone of the program is the free hands-on cooking classes where participants help to cook healthy meals and take home the ingredients to cook the recipe at home. These classes teach healthy habits that can affect long-term change in our community. Workshops not only demonstrate food preparation but teach nutrition, making healthier choices by reading labels, tips for shopping healthy on a budget and exposure to new healthy foods and food preparation. 

In addition to the cooking classes, CHEF provides food bags twice per month filled with approximately 18 pounds of healthy and fresh food items. Workshop participants receive a food bag once per month containing ingredients for the recipes they learn.

In its first year 2015/2016, the CHEF program packed and distributed over 100,000 lbs of healthy food to 370 elementary aged children and their families. The positive impact is being felt in Modesto and Ceres and United Way of Stanislaus County is proud to lead this program in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, UC Cooperative Extension, Ceres Unified School District and Modesto City Schools.

It's easy to get involved and volunteer to feed local families with us. One hour, twice per month is all it takes- meet some of our program volunteers donors here


For more information on the CHEF program, how to volunteer with us or if youre interested in starting a CHEF program at your school call the United Way of Stanislaus County's office at 209-523-4562 or email


Thank you to our program sponsors



CHEF Program Partners

Second Harvest Food Bank