Amongst the many great folks that Second Harvest and Triad Community Kitchen have nominated for the 2018 Governor’s Service Awards, there is one nomination that feels very unique and special: the students of Triad Community Kitchen’s CC54 class.
Second Harvest’s culinary school, Triad Community Kitchen, is a 13 week program designed to give local folks who are struggling to find work (or who have been stuck in low-wage work) a fresh start in their careers. The program is intense—students come, day in and day out, learning knife skills, cooking techniques, recipes, and more, more, more. There is classwork, there is kitchen work, there is homework…and if we are being honest, on most days the students leave looking exhausted and a little dazed.
Last fall, the students of TCK’s CC54 class were only 4 weeks into their studies when they became “accidental volunteers.” They did not come into school that day with the intention to volunteer, but once it became clear what needed to happen, they approached the situation with such grace, humility, and dedication that it simply cannot be overlooked.
After all, it was an emergency: three hurricanes had struck the United States, one right after another. Harvey. Irma. Maria.
While typically students in their 4th week of school would still be learning their way around the large, industrial kitchen, these students quickly turned the Triad Community Kitchen classroom and teaching kitchens into a disaster response area, creating huge amounts of ready-to-heat food to be sent into the disaster zones. It was huge vats of chicken and rice soup that they were creating—following recipes to create 1,500 servings at a time— to be sent out in enormous bags with the Salvation Army Disaster Response Team.
They came in early and left late. They never complained. They understood.
The food they prepped, cooked, bagged and sent out with disaster response teams went to communities impacted by the hurricanes throughout the Southeast. As many of us were glued to the news channels watching the wide reach of Hurricane Irma grow, these students were in the kitchen with their sleeves rolled up and chef hats on, doing their small piece in a much larger disaster response. And the food they made—warm, delicious comfort food— rolled out the door as fast as they could make it. We don’t know where it went, or who’s stomach it ended up in—but we don’t need to know all that to know it was important.
We hope they are very, very proud. Because we are.
We invite you to vote for the Triad Community Kitchen CC54 Class for the 2018 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. You can cast your vote right here.