By Jonathan Wilson
Bank accounts are often just the first things to take a hit when the economy takes a dive. For many, healthy eating becomes more difficult as well.
A community initiative in Virginia's Loudoun is County aimed at helping people on both fronts.
If it's something you can cook and eat chances are, Loudoun County resident Angela Rands, can CAN it.
Rands teaches people to can at the Loudoun Community Canning Workshop. She grew up in Utah, where she says canning was a big part of her childhood.
"In Utah a lot of mothers teach their daughters to can, but its a dying art in Utah, and its a dying art everywhere," says Rands.
Canning, the art of preserving fruits and vegetables, or even meat, in airtight containers, requires little more than a pressure cooker and some canning jars. Rands got many of hers from thrift stores.
She says canning can keep you away from junk food and save you money.
"The longer you do it, the more products you learn how to do, you become better and finding a good deal and making your dollar stretch even further," she says.
Donna Bailey started the Canning Workshop as a pilot program over the winter.
She says in affluent suburbs it's hard for people to admit they're struggling, and easy for some to retreat from the community in tough times.
"And when you're isolated," says Bailey, "all types of things can be happening to you, and you don't quite know how to raise your hand and say 'Help - I need it.'"
Bailey, who started the workshop by bringing together church volunteers from five different denominations, says learning to can is a way people in need can help themselves.
The workshops, which were held in the Giant Food on Claiborne Parkway over the winter, are expected to start up again sometime in April, when the first fresh local crops are available.
In a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Nominee Anthony Foxx advocated for more infrastructure projects to spur economic growth.