By Ukee Washington

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With food insecurity at record levels, the Food Bank of South Jersey is distributing more food than ever. They found a way to inspire clients with the food they get.

Chef Kita is an ambassador for good health. Marquita Speed is the host of “Hunger Bites,” an online cooking show started by the Food Bank of South Jersey for its clients.

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“Some of the foods that they get are beans or canned products, and I show them you can do more with beans or canned products than putting it in a pot with some water and some seasoning,” Chef Kita said.

This has been a busy time for the Food Bank of South Jersey. In 2020, it distributed more than 22.5 million pounds of food throughout Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem Counties.

Chef Kita, as the senior manager of the food bank’s health and wellness department, used to do her classes in person. Now she’s online, helping clients to get the most out of the food.

For example, “chickpeas is something you can always substitute in for chicken,” she told her viewers. “If you can find different tasty recipes with these ingredients, you have days and days of food.”

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She demonstrates how to use black beans as a substitute for ground beef and how to use leftovers to make soups and stir-fry.

“This show is ideal for those that feel like sometimes they have no food in the house,” Chef Kita said.

Since the show began last year, it has had at least 25,000 views between Facebook and YouTube.

Kimberly Hill, Food Bank of South Jersey director of health and wellness, said, “It is important to bring awareness to how easy it is to eat healthy, so Chef Kita is very talented.”

“The response has been overwhelming,” Chef Kita said.

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All episodes of “Hunger Bites” can be found on the Food Bank of South Jersey’s website, or on Facebook or YouTube @foodbankSJ.

Ukee Washington