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Voices from the Food Shift Kitchen: Destini

Destini and Cat unloading recovered produce from Imperfect. Every week Food Shift recovers, processes, and distributes almost  2,000 lbs of  food that would have otherwise been wasted.

As part of a homeless family, Destini reflects on almost not finishing high school. She had been confronted with so many hardships during her senior year– not only trying to keep up with her studies, but also keeping an eye on her little brother and simultaneously serving as a vital support for her mother. Mom was struggling to keep a literal roof over their heads, having to move the family  multiple times between three counties to temporary shelters, motels, or relatives’ homes, while also going through chemo treatment for breast cancer.

Destini is smiling now as she walks to her job with The Food Shift Kitchen (TFSK) at the Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), a supportive community for the formerly homeless where she and her family now live.

Working primarily with rescued produce, The Food Shift Kitchen provides culinary workforce training and employment to jobless adults and good food to people in need. In addition to reducing wasted food and feeding the community, the kitchen has become a unique haven, a kind of culinary sanctuary—cultivating resilience for people of all skills and abilities whose lives have been challenging.

Currently employed as a TFSK apprentice Monday through Thursday, Destini is saving for college and hopes to continue studying and working in the food industry. Her stress has been eased considerably. “I’m getting faster. My knife technique is improving,” she beams. “Sometimes I can be shy, but now, I pretty much can communicate with people.”

In early 2018, Destini, her mother, and two other APC residents will graduate from The Food Shift Kitchen’s six-month training program, its third graduating class—taking with them valuable job
skills, increased confidence, industry certifications, improved interpersonal skills, and love from the Food Shift family.

Chef Terrell Brunet, kitchen apprentices – Regina, Henrika, Lorinda, and Destini, and founder Dana Frasz, representing Food Shift and providing food at an Environmental Science Associates event in Oakland. Hiring Food Shift for your catering supports our social enterprise.

Hear more voices from the kitchen: check out apprentices Justin, Allen, and Monique

This vital work to transform lives and food is only possible with your support. Help us reach our goals, make a tax deductible donation to Food Shift here. 


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