The Alameda Kitchen concluded its first class last Wednesday, October 5th. Our first three-month program was a growing experience for everyone involved. We were inspired by the tenacity and passion the on-the-job trainees (OJTs) brought to their work and encouraged by the progress they made working on resumes and work-readiness with us during the last week of the session. Terri, Tabatha, and Gigi will forever hold a special place in our hearts and the Food Shift story. We are so grateful for the persistence, patience and insight they brought with them.
For their graduation ceremony the restaurant C’era Una Volta in downtown Alameda was generous enough to open its doors early just for us. We had a beautiful Italian meal using rescued produce that included an eggplant and polenta dish and a traditional Italian vegetable and bread stew. Even though we stuffed ourselves full there were still leftovers, which we of course took home!
As our reflection process gets underway we are especially aware of how collaborative the Alameda Kitchen really is. We rely on donations provided by so many people. Imperfect Produce, St. Vincent de Paul, Andronico’s Community Markets, and Alameda Food Bank all made it possible for us to spend time in the kitchen with the trainees.
Another one of the biggest blessings for the program was our partnership with the Alameda Point Collaborative (APC). Having our kitchen based in such a welcoming community makes all the difference. Our trainees were truly motivated to prepare meals for their own community, aware that many of their neighbors are food insecure – this is one part of the program we will be putting more time and energy into pursuing with our next class.
The on-the-job trainees also donated food to City Team almost every week. Giving back to a shelter similar to the ones that used to provide them safety and food was really meaningful for Terry, Tabatha and Gigi. City Team was also kind enough to host a small good-bye ceremony for the OJTs, thanking them for their work.
We’ll be sure to share more of what we learned from the program and adjustments we’ll be making in the coming weeks. For now though thank you so much to all of our partners who dove into our first class with us!