Culinary training program addresses unemployment and food insecurity

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FoodWorks is a culinary training program that offers unemployed and underemployed individuals job training in the culinary field. Designed to work with people with barriers to employment, the mission of the program is to empower, educate, train, and provide nutritious meals to people in need through the free lunch program at Kate’s Kitchen, a program of Providence Ministries in Holyoke. Working in partnership with other local education and employment programs, foodWorks offers trainees social services like housing assistance and financial literacy, and job placement support to find and secure a job. During the training program, participants prepare quality, nutritious meals for Kate’s Kitchen, which serves lunch 365 days per year for a total of over 60,000 meals annually.

Recent graduates of foodWorks have landed jobs in restaurant work, including kitchen help, prep cooks, retail food sales, institutional kitchens, and day care center meal preparation. Improvements and expansions planned for the kitchen will increase food storage capacity allowing foodWorks to increase the volume of meals served and food distributed through a related food pantry, including local food processed in season and frozen for later use and distribution.

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