Danielle Carrillo and Kate Casey distribute samples of a healthy snack at Central Pantry.

Danielle Carrillo and Kate Casey distribute samples of a healthy snack at Central Pantry.

Students studying dietetics at the University of Missouri’s College of Human Environmental Sciences are getting real-world experience while also helping clients at The Food Bank’s Central Pantry in Columbia.

Teams of students set up demonstrations and distribute educational materials at the pantry every week during the school year. It is part of the curricula that requires students to apply their lessons outside of a classroom.

It is a long-term partnership that pantry Supervisor Sean Ross says is beneficial not only for students, but also for clients.

“The demonstrations show healthy ways to serve foods that we have on the shelves,” Ross said. “They also encourage people to try new foods or familiar foods in new ways.

For the MU students, the experience gives them a glimpse into a different sector of the food industry.

“It helps us figure out different job options and experience working with different types of clients,” said freshman Kate Casey.

She and senior Danielle Carrillo last week handed out samples of apples and dip. Apples were in abundance at the pantry, and families were allowed to take multiple bags, depending on the number of people in the household. The dip included honey and peanut butter, also available on pantry shelves.

The recipe, which they found online, was originally named “skinny peanut butter dip.” The two changed it to “tasty apples” instead, saying they learned early on in the project that names impact people’s willingness to try new foods.

“We have learned how to be a little more creative,” Carrillo said.