Paulette Wild relies on the Second Harvest Food Bank for food assistance.

"I don't know what I'd do without it," said Wild. "Days on end I would hardly have anything to eat."

She's one of the first people to participate in the non-profit's Meals Made Easy program.

"I just love it," said Wild. "You learn something new every week, about your proteins or whatever. I've been cooking since I was nine, but I learned a lot here."

The six-week program teaches those who are in need how to cook nutritious meals by using healthy ingredients found at local food pantries.

"With our food insecure communities, they don't have access to a lot of the healthier foods like fruits and vegetables," said Healthy Pantry Initiative coordinator and nutritionist David Godoy. "That is what the food bank is trying to do, is to bring those healthier foods into the pantries and then teach folks how to use those foods."

With ongoing inflation and the recent reduction in SNAP benefits, those involved say the need for this program is tremendous.

"It's a big issue, especially with SNAP being reduced," said Godoy. "More folks are visiting our pantries. Studies have shown folks are using the pantries six times out of the year. They are coming, so it's more frequently they are coming to our pantries."

Wild is living proof of the program's success.

"I love the program," said Wild. "If they have another one, I'll definitely come back."

This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.