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A program that helps train low-income adults for food service jobs has been given a huge bite of financial help.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida announced it has received a $100,000 grant from Simply Healthcare Foundation for its Culinary Training Program (CTP), the nonprofit’s workforce development initiative that prepares adults for careers in the food service industry.

The CTP offers qualified students — at no cost to them — a “hands-on” learning experience of every aspect of the food service industry, from inventory and cost control, staffing and training, to production in a high-volume kitchen through banquet and catering operations, while developing a recipe portfolio they can use during job interviews.

Since its launch in 2013, more than 350 students have completed the program and been placed into jobs within the food industry, a news release says. The training is done at Second Harvest’s main warehouse space at 411 Mercy Drive in Orlando.

Would-be students can apply by calling 407-514-1037 or applying online at www.feedhopenow.org/site/SPageServer/?pagename=how_transform_culinary_training.

“We’re optimistic that [economic] recovery will continue as we see our graduates called back — or find new opportunities to put their talents to work,” Dave Krepcho, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank, said in the release. “This grant from the Simply Healthcare Foundation will allow us to continue providing hunger relief efforts while also building up a strong workforce for our local restaurants, hotels and other food service providers.”

The support from Simply Healthcare Foundation will allow Second Harvest to continue providing food assistance to current students, as well as graduates of the program who lost their jobs and remain unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the news release says.

Each week, CTP students receive boxes that serve two purposes: help feed their families and provide additional ingredients to complete at-home lessons. Second Harvest is also assisting approximately 20 former graduates with food boxes.

In addition to the weekly boxes of food, the grant will support a 16-week culinary class for a new group of students.

LOOK AT THIS Chef Eric Andre explains vegetables to a student in the Culinary Training Program during a class at the Orlando center of Second Harvest Food Bank.

“There is a clear relationship between food insecurity and poor nutrition and we are committed to supporting creative initiatives designed to find innovative solutions to this health care challenge,” Holly Prince, president of Simply Healthcare Plans Medicaid, said in the release. “Second Harvest’s training program meets this barrier head on. Not only are students provided healthy food choices to fuel their families, but they also receive valuable work skills that can help them achieve employment.”

Simply Healthcare Foundation works with local, regional and national organizations to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in Florida communities.

Second Harvest Food Bank secures and distributes food and grocery products to approximately 550 local nonprofit feeding programs throughout Central Florida, including Volusia County.

For more information about how to support Second Harvest’s hunger relief efforts, visit www.FeedHopeNow.org.


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