Made with love

Bettina Evans is the house parent and cook for Looking Glass Pathways Girls Program.

The Looking Glass Pathways Girls Program is one of 150 programs in Lane County that partners with FFLC to distribute food. The program provides residential mental health, alcohol and drug treatment services for female juvenile offenders ages 12 to 18. Most girls stay an average six months before returning home or to other community settings.

Bettina brings a big heart – and a lot of experience – to the job. A culinary background in French cuisine inspires her cooking.

“I try to incorporate in my cooking love,” said Bettina, who picks up food at FFLC weekly for meals and snacks that she prepares for the girls.

She encourages the girls to let her know their favorite foods so she can make those for them. She makes healthy choices whenever she can. Fresh, healthy and from scratch.

“There’s a plethora of product in the walk-in cooler at FFLC,” said Bettina. “I love bringing things back from there and turning it into something I’ve never made before. It all depends on what’s in the walk-in. I never know from week to week what I’ll be making.”

That kind of variety gets Bettina’s creative juices flowing, and the food she gets from FFLC helps her stretch a small grocery budget.

“I will find things in the walk-in – different sauces or mustards or produce – that I would not necessarily buy because it’s so expensive.”

The kitchen provides teachable moments.

“I want them to be able to go to the market and be able to identify jicama or a beet or asparagus. The girls love roasted asparagus. Some of them have never had asparagus.”

“I’m a big believer in self-esteem,” she adds. “I want them to feel good about themselves. If I can teach them how to read a recipe they can cook anything.”

by Denise Wendt