Winston-Salem really is a remarkable place full of wonderfully giving people. While it may seem like time is flying by, and everyone is rushing to get everything done, there are places and people that remind us how much we can do to help others if we just take a minute or two to think of ways we can help. One of the most interesting methods of giving back in Winston-Salem is through a program known as The Triad Community Kitchen.
“The Triad Community Kitchen is a program of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC that provides training and job placement in the food service industry for individuals who are unemployed or underemployed,” said Leah Harkey, client services assistant for Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC’s Triad Community Kitchen and Providence Restaurant & Catering. “Our 13-week program includes certification in ServSafe sanitation, basic culinary skills, baking and pastry, mass food production and cook-chill technology training. Upon completion, graduates will receive a certificate of training endorsed by Forsyth Technical Community College, Goodwill Industries of NC, The Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC and The Triad Community Kitchen, as well as an ACF certificate showing completion of an ACF quality program. Executive Director Jeff Bacon started the program in 2006 with the help of the Food Bank.”
The program is open to anyone 18 or older. However, some individuals can benefit more than others from the learning process. “The program is especially appropriate for unemployed individuals in need of retooling for the job market, individuals who are or have been employed in the culinary field who need significant skills and knowledge in order to reach their career potential, novices who are exploring the culinary arts for the first time as a possible career option, and individuals considering a two-year associates degree in culinary arts who want an introductory experience before committing to a two-year program,” said Harkey.
This program has been helping those facing employment barriers like criminal records, addictions and homelessness for ten years, and in return, the meals made during the program support Second Harvest Food Bank’s mission of serving ready-to-heat meals.
The newest program for the Triad Community Kitchen (TCK), Providence Restaurant and Catering, just celebrated a year of business! “On Sunday, May 7th we will celebrate these incredible milestones at An Evening of ‘Fresh Starts & Full Plates,’ a Fundraising Event Celebrating Ten Years of Changing Lives One Recipe at a Time,” said Harkey. “Since its beginning, TCK has been a place for fresh starts. In October 2015, our dream of opening a restaurant where our catering business could stretch its wings, and where our graduates could work for a living wage while remaining a part of the TCK learning continuum, became a reality with the opening of Providence Restaurant and Catering. Now, we are truly blessed with full plates as our story has come full circle. Attendees will have the chance to taste our interpretation of Farm to Fork regional cuisine, to meet all of the special people who are part of our team, to celebrate how far we’ve come and to help us grow these programs so we may continue ‘Serving Something Beautiful.’”
Whether you know someone who could benefit from the programs available at TCK or think it might be a good fit for you, don’t hesitate to get more information or even try out a class! “We often invite unsure students to come try the class for a day or two and really get a taste of what it’s all about,” said Harkey. “They see that they can fit in and succeed. TCK is a unique place that offers more than just culinary training. When you take the step and sign up for our class, you’ll find an incredible support staff who will give you the tools you need to succeed; you’ll find a group of peers that will lead you, encourage you and eventually follow you through the program; and you’ll find the confidence you thought you didn’t have. Everyone can find a place here and become part of the TCK family.”
There are multiple ways to get involved in these efforts, including encouraging those you know to participate in the program, sponsoring a student and dining at Providence Restaurant (providencerestaurantws.com). For more information, visit the website at hungernwnc.org. To learn more about the program and get started on the registration process, contact Leah Harkey at 336.397.7062 or firstname.lastname@example.org.