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AARP AARP States Wisconsin

'Cooking with Seniors' Proposal Wins AARP ‘Small Dollar, Big Impact’ Grant

Healthy Mind Healthy Food with Judy Barbe

A proposal submitted by Heart 2 Heart Compassionate Widow’s Circles, Inc. in Milwaukee to provide additional food, equipment, supplies, and a chef to facilitate two “Cooking with Seniors” classes has been selected to receive this month’s AARP Wisconsin “Small Dollar, Big Impact” grant.

We at AARP WI are awarding one $1,000 grant each month throughout 2022 to projects across the state that are designed to improve communities and make them better places for everyone to live, work and play as they age. These grants are exactly what the name describes – short-term, low-cost solutions that could have a remarkable impact on the shaping of local communities.

We know how cooking and food can bring people together and Heart 2 Heart Compassionate Widow's Circles, Inc. has done an amazing job offering these classes to our 50-plus community. With this grant they can now offer even more cooking workshops.

Genene Hibbler, Founder and Executive Director of Heart 2 Heart, said the group will spend the grant money on food, equipment, supplies and a facilitator for the “Cooking with Seniors” classes.

“Cooking is not just a chore that has to be done," Hibbler said, "it is an opportunity to escape your realities, relieve stress and free your mind. Seniors will be encouraged to be creative while finding joy in cooking in a fun-filled social environment. After all, when seniors cook their own meals, they are able to control their dietary intake while eating healthy and trying new recipes. Our chefs will provide instruction on how to purchase, prepare, cook, and serve a meal.

In June 2022, Heart 2 Heart launched “Cooking as Therapy” classes. The group partnered with the Oak Creek Community Center to host a Single Moms and Kids Cooking Class. Participants said the classes gave them a sense of community while learning new skills and recipes.

Heart 2 Heart Compassionate Widow’s Circles Inc. is a non-profit organization that works to bridge the gap between church and community while empowering participants towards independence and self-sufficiency via their participation in the Compassionate Widow’s Circles led by ministry leaders.

We launched our "Small Dollar, Big Impact” grant program in 2020 and it is now in its third year of helping proposed projects move forward in rural and urban parts of the state. The grant program is open to some nonprofits and government entities. For more information on the program, visit

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