E.A.T. INITIATIVE By Cedric Rudolph
Chef Claudy Pierre and Naomi Ritter, the leaders behind the nonprofit organization, the E.A.T. Initiative, are working to feed and sustain hungry communities in Pittsburgh. The initiative’s acronym stands for “Empowerment, Awareness, and Training.” Pierre, Ritter, and a host of dedicated staff educate and train everyday people in underserved neighborhoods like Homewood and the Hill District. They teach people to prepare nutritious meals and to advocate for themselves. According to a 2016 study by Feeding America, there are over 160, 000 people living in Allegheny County who are considered food insecure—a status that signals (usually) low-income families living in areas lacking reasonable access to essentials, namely fresh fruits and vegetables. Pierre founded E.A.T. in 2014 on the premise that establishing food security requires more than delivering vegetables to families in need. It requires educating people, so they can better choose what to put into their bodies. Ritter, who shares Pierre’s vision, currently directs E.A.T. She says of those living with food insecurity: “If we have food stamps that are able to get us fruits and vegetables, we don’t always know what to do with them.” Under the banner of the E.A.T. Initiative, Pierre holds cooking demonstrations, cooking classes, hospitality training, and other programs meant to empower people to find healthy food and prepare it. From 2016-2018, E.A.T. teamed up with the CITY Program, a career development group, to
Pierre graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and took classes at University of Pittsburgh.
| Issue 19