SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — When you're sick, cooking healthy isn't always in the cards. From the time it takes to plan, shop, and prepare, some say it's not worth the energy.

A little laughter and comradery, however, could be just what the doctor ordered.

Cooking Matters is a program that offers weekly cooking classes at places like the Dempsey Center in South Portland. Thanks to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, this program is free.

The students say they are committed to eating healthy, and they all have one thing in common: their lives have been forever changed by cancer.

"I'm lucky, I'm one of the lucky ones," Lori Allen said. "[but] you don't go back to the life that you had."   

Lori Allen is a breast cancer survivor, still undergoing some treatments. 

"You're tired, you hurt, you don't feel like cooking and it's really easy to go get prepared foods... this just sort of reinvigorates you."

Others are caregivers. But in the classroom, they're all in the fight together. 

"I think it's that balancing act of learning how to really take care of yourself because no one can take care of you except yourself and really to keep your energy as strong as possible so you are able to share that with others," Kathy Bailey said.

"Makes you excited to think that healthy food doesn't have to be boring," Allen said.

Cooking Matters is one of the many programs through Good Shepherd Food Bank. You can help them out any time of year by donating to our Feed Maine campaign.

RELATED: Cooking Matters: Learning healthy, affordable, delicious meals

RELATED: 'Cooking Matters' helps Mainers make healthy choices