FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CEFS Contact: Rachel Moss
Phone: (802) 658-7939 ext 23
Vermont Foodbank Contact: Judy Stermer
Phone: (802) 477-4108
A nationwide program that addresses the root causes of unemployment, poverty and hunger has recently started in Burlington. The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf (CEFS) and the Vermont Foodbank are partnering to launch Community Kitchen.
A program of Feeding America – the national network of food banks, Community Kitchen is a 14-week culinary job training program that prepares unemployed and underemployed men and women for sustainable careers in the food service industry.
Funding for Community Kitchen is provided in part by a Next Generation (Act 46) Grant from the Vermont Department of Labor. Currently, 10 women are working side by side with professional chef, Brian Dermody, five days a week, learning and honing food handling, preparation and culinary skills. CEFS and the Vermont Foodbank have secured funding for three-14 week sessions.
As part of this program, students will benefit from Vermont Adult Learning’s “Making it Work” series. During their training, students will develop valuable life and professional skills including goal establishment, résumé writing, interviewing skills, conflict management and budgeting to help them gain and sustain employment after graduation.Upon graduation for Community Kitchen, students will be “ServeSafe” certified, a recognized food service industry standard.
“In today’s unstable financial market, grassroots job creation programs like Community Kitchen are vital to the survival of our local economy,” said Rob Meehan, CEFS Executive Director.
The Vermont Foodbank has run a version of the Community Kitchen program through their facility in Barre for number of years. Partnering with CEFS, the Foodbank’s largest network partner, seemed like a natural fit.
“Community Kitchen is an essential program in our fight against hunger, addressing the root causes of hunger in our state. This program prepares students for the work force, empowering individuals to be active participants in poverty elimination,” said Christine Foster, Interim Co-Chief Executive Officer. “We are thrilled to partner with the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, the Department of Labor, Sodexo, and Vermont Adult learning to provide this program in the Burlington area.”
About the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf
Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf works to alleviate hunger by feeding people and cultivating opportunities. As the largest direct service emergency food provider in Vermont, CEFS serves over 11,300 people each year.
About the Vermont Foodbank
Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, serving communities in all 14 counties of Vermont through a network of 270 food pantries, soup kitchen, shelters, senior centers and after-school programs. Last year, the Vermont Foodbank distributed nearly 6.5 million pounds of food to the more than 66,000 needy Vermonters who request charitable food assistance. The Vermont Foodbank is a nationally recognized as one of the most effective and efficient nonprofits and food banks in the nation. For facts and figures on hunger and poverty, to sign-up to receive our newsletter, to find a food shelf in your community, and to learn about the Federal Nutrition Programs, visit us on the web at www.vtfoodbank.org