Inn at Weathersfield partners with SAPCC and SMCS to bring “Cooking Matters” to area


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Richard and Marilee Spanjian. Photo provided.
Richard and Marilee Spanjian. Photo provided.


SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Springfield Area Parent Child Center is pleased to announce a new program, “Cooking Matters.” The six-week hands-on cooking course and interactive grocery store tours will be offered free of charge at SAPCC with classes beginning in November.

This is a community partnership led by Executive Chef Michael Ehlenfeldt of The Inn at Weathersfield; Lara Peck and Sooyoung Uhm, both registered dieticians with Springfield Medical Systems. Black River Produce is also on board to donate fresh ingredients for the cooking curriculum supplies.

Chef Michael was one of the first instructors to bring this program to the Boston area. “Cooking Matters” serves families across the country through hands-on, and mobile, online educational tools. Participants will learn to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices, and cook delicious affordable meals.

The program was developed with five major guiding principles as follows: The negative health and economic effects of hunger and poor diet can be avoided if families know how to shop for and prepare healthy, low-cost meals; Chefs are valued instructors because of their expertise in food preparation and budgeting as well as their creativity and energy; Food is to be enjoyed. Those living on a low income deserve to enjoy their food as well – and need to know how to create food that is delicious, satisfying and healthy; Cooking and eating meals as a family is an important social activity; and volunteering, or sharing our strengths is a way to create community wealth.

The Inn at Weathersfield’s owners Marilee and Richard Spanjian continued their community support by hosting the Inn’s Annual Farm Dinner on Aug. 20 and showcasing three local farms: Heminway, Ephraim Mountain, and Chickering farms. The Silent Auction began during cocktail hour in the Inn’s vegetable garden where guests enjoyed music by Springfield Stringers. Later, the party moved to the back lawn where Chef Michael Ehlenfeldt prepared a five course dinner set at long farm tables. A second band, “Exit 9”out of Hartland, kept the party going with their smoky classic blues tunes and the bids climbed to raise over $3,600 in donations for SAPCC.

“We couldn’t have done this without the support of the community and our loyal guests who both donated and attended the dinner. We’re honored to give back and support the community,” Marilee said.

“Community Collaboration is critical to SAPCC, as we continue to provide wrap around services to young children and families as we’ve done for nearly 25 years in North Windham and South Windsor counties,” says executive director Jill Rapanotti.

“As Federal and State funding slowly shrinks due to budget cuts, we look more and more to find ways to raise the funds needed to continue to meet the goals of our mission statement: Strong Communities, One Family at a Time. In 2015 we served over 3500 children and families in our service area through Parent Education, Early Childhood Development, Early Intervention, Home Visits, Child Care Referral and Subsidy assistance, Play Groups and Parent Support Groups.”

If interested in supporting SAPCC or attending the “Cooking Matters” classes, contact Jill Rapanotti, Executive Director or Jan Zona, Administrative/PR Manager at 802-996-5242, online at or on Facebook.

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