Meet the Team:

​​Eliza Hernandez is originally from Mexico City and at an early age she came to Atlanta, GA with her family. Eliza has always had a passion for nutrition and growing up as a foreigner she noticed how there was very little nutrition outreach in the Hispanic community.

While studying Nutrition at Georgia State University Eliza took the opportunity to intern at Open Hand Cooking Matters. Here at Cooking Matters she has been able to provide nutrition education to over 60 Hispanic families. Eliza loves to be  out in the community educating people how to eat healthy and cook delicious, affordable meals.

Eliza is currently our Spanish Coordinator in charge of creating relationships with Latino-serving agencies. When she is not out in the field she likes to meditate, try new recipes and hike new Georgia State parks trails.

Field Coordinator

Bethany King Fascination with nutrition began when she realized that healthy foods could be utilized as a supplement and even sometimes substitute for medicine. She began educating herself in order to assist her family with all of their severe health conditions. Bethany realized the extent to which she enjoyed helping people in a nutritional capacity and began seeking other opportunities to fulfill this passion. 

As a Cooking Matters instructor, she loves traveling into various communities all over Atlanta offering nutrition and cooking education. She especially loves sharing the myriad of tips and tricks to affordably eating healthily. Working with low income individuals to disprove the misconception that "healthy and nutritious food is too expensive" has been especially rewarding for Bethany and she thoroughly enjoys assisting her community in this endeavor. She is very excited that her job affords her the opportunity to work in a capacity where all of her passions and talents intersect as she helps others to access healthy foods regardless of income.

Bethany holds a Degree in sociology and is planning to pursue a masters degree to become a registered dietitian.

Bethany is currently an AmeriCorp member. In her free time, you can find Bethany playing in gardens, drawing, playing volleyball, chasing cats around her neighborhood trying to pet them, surfing, rollerskating, photographing, and attending art shows & concerts all over Atlanta.

AmeriCorp Service Member

Marcia Rafig began her hospitality career over 45 years ago.  A graduate of Widener University with a BA in Nutrition and Hotel, Restaurant, & Institutional Management, a Masters from (R.I.T.); Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Marcia lived and worked for over 5 years, in Accra, Ghana West Africa.  Her project was to develop an infant and children feeding programs in a village near Accra.  On returning to the USA she developed feeding programs for the homeless in Philadelphia, PA.  Marcia’s true mission in life is “Women and Minority” issues in the hospitality industry. 

Marcia also worked at the University of Pennsylvania’s for over 20 years maintaining various positions. In 1987 there were only two "Women of Color" who held the position of General Manger in the United States of America. Marcia was one of them; she was appointed General Manager of the University of Pennsylvania’s Hotel. 

Marcia was a founding member of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau’s “Multicultural Advisory Council “.  Mac was the first tourism program, in the country, that targeted multicultural tourist.   Marcia was also the founding chair of the Diversity committee of the American Hotel and Motel Association. 

For 6 years Marcia was the undergraduate chairperson for the BS, HRIM at New York University.  Marcia was the Resident District Manager at Emory University and Oxford Collage of Emory University for ARAMARK, running two Campus Dining services.  Marcia retired form Emory in 2007.  In retirement Marcia has lived her life’s dream of service to others working for Cooking Matters.

 Spanish Coordinator

This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- SNAP-Ed.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Sara Thorpe is a Atlanta native, Sara has a passion for giving back to her community, particularly connecting low-income communities to healthy, affordable food options. She has served in both program oversight and the field of nutrition with food access issues for the last four years.  She developed the Boulevard Food Coop to provide a new source of access to low-income families in Old Fourth Ward and conducted research on the healthy behaviors among adolescents in Bijapur, India.  In addition, she served as the Secretary of the Georgia Food Policy Council and has her Master’s in Public Health from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. 

Outside of work Sara can be found exploring Atlanta’s parks, hiking in the North GA Mountains, reading a good book, or trying out new dishes in the kitchen, always with her dog by her side. Sara’s favorite part of her job as Program Manager is listening to the needs of communities throughout the state and developing partnerships to build a healthier state.


​​Program and Training Manager