As 2018 draws to a close, we are happy to share some inspiring success stories from The Food Shift Kitchen, our social enterprise that provides culinary workforce training and employment to jobless adults while rescuing food and feeding the community. These stories come from Debra and Jasmine, two of our dedicated apprentices who have been instrumental in contributing to our work that feeds the community.
Debra spent five years living in unstable housing and dealing with a long bout of homelessness. Her patience and persistence finally paid off when her lottery number was selected for a subsidized apartment at Alameda Point Collaborative where our job training program is based.Luck also landed her next door to a Food Shift Kitchen graduate, Henrika. They often shared food and Henrika encouraged Debra to participate in the paid apprenticeship.
Debra is now happily working in our kitchen. Her family teases her about taking over other people’s kitchens with her new know-how. After graduation in January, Debra is considering catering, or perhaps the culinary program at the College of Alameda. Nothing makes her happier than doing a Food Shift catering gig where she can observe folks enjoying the food and coming back for seconds—it’s that good! “For me,” Debra shares, “this apprenticeship has brought me stability, skills, and the confidence to pursue a career in cooking and continue my education.”
Jasmine loves working in The Food Shift Kitchen, meeting new people, and learning about different cooking techniques and tools. Working together as a team with the volunteers and the Food Shift staff is a highlight for Jasmine. In addition to being an amazing opportunity to learn new job skills, Jasmine has noticed that the program has encouraged her family to eat healthier–raised eating mainly meat with rice or potatoes, Jasmine has cut a lot of meat out of her diet, and her kids are even exploring new veggies like cauliflower with tahini sauce. Whether it’s going back to school for more culinary training or cooking in a shelter, Jasmine feels ready to take the next step, and she is confident her future will involve cooking.
In addition to recognizing Debra and Jasmine for all of their amazing work, we also want to thank our dedicated volunteer team who acts as another support system to the apprentices and helps make these growth experiences possible. Whether they are in the kitchen helping prep for catering jobs, driving our van to recover precious food, or working remotely to help develop our online presence, our volunteers truly keep Food Shift moving.
If you feel as inspired as we do by these stories, please consider donating to Food Shift–your donations enable us to offer this unique job training experience to more people, and supports our entire program as we work toward a future that truly nourishes our community, our health, and our environment.