Evan Robinson of MasterChef Junior makes sweet potato black bean empanadas

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Evan Robinson of Master Chef Junior prepares empanadas. (WLS)

MasterChef Junior contestant and Hyde Park native, Evan Robinson, stops by "Windy City LIVE" to show us how to make sweet potato black bean empanadas with roasted corn salsa from the Common Threads Cooking for Life Handbook.

Twelve-year-old Robinson refined his cooking skills through Chicago's Common Threads programs.

Linda Novick O'Keefe, CEO of Common Threads, explains how summer months can be a hungry and stressful time for children and families from low-income communities, who lose access to school-provided meals during this time. This often leaves families' budgets stretched thin and millions of children without proper nutrition, resulting in a "summer slide" affect, in both health and academic achievement. According to the Food Research and Action Center, only 15 percent of children eligible for free and reduced school meals receive food over the summer. That leaves approximately 16 million kids without those crucial meals.

To combat that issue, Common Threads is implementing the Small Bites nutrition education program, by providing feeding stations, healthy snacks and nutrition education to these children throughout the summer months.

Common Threads also issues a Cooking for Life Handbook that is an 8-week, budget friendly meal plan, that is aligned with WIC and SNAP.

To download the Common Threads Cooking for Life Handbook, please go to: http://www.commonthreads.org/

Viewers can watch Evan Robinson cook at the Taste of Chicago on the Lifeway stage on Sunday, July 9 at 5:30 p.m.

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entertainmentWindy City LIVEChicago

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