Heal LA Launches First Virtual Cooking Class


It’s now been a full year since the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 had become a global pandemic. The pandemic had claimed millions of loved ones and changed the ways in which each of us relates to and navigates the world.

This time last year, the Heal Los Angeles Foundation was getting ready to start our first program which would have been an in-person cooking class at Loreto Street Elementary in East Los Angeles. In mid-March, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) shut down all schools for at least two weeks to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

After months of seeing how the world was functioning with online learning, that gave Heal LA a chance to filter on how it would run its own virtual programs for youths and families.


Zoom fatigue was the biggest concern since our youths are constantly online during academic hours for school. Heal LA knew going into the virtual setting that the cooking program would have to be engaging and fun for youth and families to take part in. Heal LA reengaged with conversations with Loreto Street Elementary about starting a virtual cooking class and they felt this program would be extremely beneficial for their students to interact with their other classmates outside a standard school Zoom session.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) has become a priority in many schools because research shows it is critical for academic and lifelong success. When kids are upset (sad, angry, worried), it is much harder for them to access the thinking parts of their brains to learn or to manage their behavior. The COVID-19 crisis brings this need for SEL support to the forefront, both for students and families. With anxiety and uncertainty at a global level, SEL is crucial right now for our youths and families.


With much planning and execution during the first two months into the New Year, Heal LA was ready to start their first virtual program. The Virtual Cooking Class would be for eight weeks and twenty-five families from Loreto Street Elementary would take part in the course. Every Monday, families would be receiving a fresh food box to cook the meal of the week.

How would families know how to cook the meals? Heal LA provided a live chef over Zoom to walk them through step-bystep of how to make each meal. To be mindful for families that speak Spanish, Heal LA also provided a bilingual chef to teach families that wanted to join the Spanish course. Tuesdays are the English course and on Wednesdays are the Spanish course. For families that can’t make the live Zoom sessions, a recording of the session is provided to the families at the end of the day. Heal LA also provided a hard copy of the recipe cookbook for each family.


Another fun way Heal LA wanted to engage with families is having them post their finished meal on social media or submit a photo to us via email. For Families that post or submit a photo, they would be receiving a $25 grocery gift card to use for personal use.

Week 3 of the Virtual Cooking Class will start tomorrow and this week the meal of the week will be Burrito Bowls! Be on the lookout on all of our social media platforms to see our families’ finished meals!