We have been blessed: Houston Family Reflects on COVID-19 Journey

By Common Threads | Sept 30, 2020

Common Threads interviewed a few parents and educators about their experiences with virtual learning, food acquisition and meals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In this interview, Diana Morales from Houston shares her perspective on how life has changed for her family during the pandemic.

By Letty Salas
Sept. 28, 2020

How many children do you have? How old are they?
Three. Jimena is 17 years old. The other two, David (20 years old) and Fernando (19 years old) are in college.

How has COVID-19 affected your grocery shopping?
I plan better so that we don’t go as often to the supermarket. But we’re still going, you know, with the face covering.

How has COVID-19 affected your family’s food consumption?
I have two boys who are going to college. They weren’t here (before COVID-19) and we have this amount of food we usually consume, but now they are here. (Morales gestured with her hands to show the difference). We’re buying more food because they are here. And they eat a lot. It’s like, “Did everybody already eat?” Yeah, OK. And they ate the whole thing.

Since COVID, are your children involved in meal prep?
Yes. One of my boys likes to cook and sometimes he just says, “Today I’m cooking for everybody”. I’m happy with that. My other boy was not very good with cooking, but he now sometimes makes breakfast, which is an improvement. My daughter, Jimena, has always liked to cook. She’s very creative and she’s more on the side of making the recipe. She comes up with her own ideas, and she makes it look pretty.

How have you seen your daughter and her friends approach nutrition and wellness?
It is very important to improve what the kids are eating. I have seen firsthand in the past, my daughter’s friends who came to my home for a sleepover and one of them didn’t want to eat fruit or anything, just cereal. It’s very important to get them involved and to explain where the food is coming from and how to combine different things… the involvement in cooking is very important.

What are your thoughts about digital education right now?
Well in Jimena’s case, it was good. I am not sure if it works for everybody for different reasons, because sometimes families do not have the equipment, or a computer and some kids do not respond to that format. But Jimena is happy. Jimena is able to see what she needs to do, and she has her own time, and her own schedule and it works well for her.

Do you see yourself as a wellness advocate?
Yes, I think it’s very important that people eat well, because you’re going to avoid a lot of problems in the future with health. So, I think it’s key to get the kids to eat better and to understand how to do that.

What has been your family’s biggest concern during COVID-19?
I think it is to not be able to plan things, it’s the uncertainty more than anything because you don’t know what is going to happen. Right now, we are not sure if my boys will go back to college, physically, out in the world. One of them is going to Texas Tech in Lubbock. And the other one goes to the UK so we don’t know if they should go or not… We have been blessed. My husband has his job, so on that part we are okay. But you never know.

What concerns do you hear from other parents?
Parents… are trying to make ends meet. Or they need the kids to go back to school, but they are afraid.

What is your biggest concern for your child to go back to school?
Well, she has had the option to take online or in person, and she prefers online. So, for now we’re good, and I know she’s going to do well.

Would you like to share anything else?
Well, just that it is really good, what you’re doing. And I think it’s important, and it was very interesting to see that you’re incorporating nutrition into math and language… It’s something that is going to make the kids see the other side of the usual, you know, academic curriculum. And at the same time, you’re helping with the way they eat. There’s such a need in every community for this absolutely, yes. They were trying to do this at Jimena’s school, to pay specific attention to food and to take care of the kids dealing with food insecurity.

Common Threads is a national nonprofit that provides children and families cooking and nutrition education to encourage healthy habits that contribute to wellness. We equip under-resourced communities with information to make affordable, nutritious and appealing food choices wherever they live, work, learn and play. We know that food is rooted in culture and tradition, so we promote diversity in our lessons and recipes, encouraging our participants to celebrate the world around them. To learn more, visit www.commonthreads.org or on social media by searching for #CookingForLife.