Updated: Apr 28
"Food for 15,000? No problem!" That’s what students from Providence Culinary Training will be saying after they have successfully completed the 13-week culinary school nestled in the back of Second Harvest Food Bank’s main warehouse facility. That’s because in addition to the weeks of knife skills, nutrition education, and learning how to make a perfect mirepoix, students will, at some point, help out in the Providence Community Meals program as part of their training.
Carrots. Cucumbers. Melon Balls. Burgers. Spaghetti. Beef and Veggie Stew. Each week, Providence Community Meals is making anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 nutritious meals a for local kids, seniors, and people with disabilities. Students and volunteers work alongside our seasoned chefs to create these meals each morning, delivering them for lunch and dinner to senior centers, after-school programs, summer meal sites (in season), and other enrichment programs where we know people at risk of hunger may be. The program also produces ready-to-heat meals for Second Harvest’s partner agency network as a supplement to the fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen meats, and staple food items Second Harvest rescues, inspects, and distributes across 18 counties of Northwest North Carolina every
day. Thousands of households utilize these pantries every month to supplement their groceries and make ends meet. We know that when 1 in 6 of our neighbors may be facing food insecurity, we need to leverage multiple strategies to get food to people in need. This is especially true for high-risk populations, like growing children and aging seniors. Providence Community Meals delivers nutritious, prepared meals right to the locations where kids and seniors congregate, taking out any additional barriers between them and the food they need. Each meal includes fresh fruit and/or vegetables, with the majority of these fresh produce items coming to Second Harvest Food Bank though it's longstanding partnership with Walmart and its nearby distribution center. Wedding the community meals program with our successful Providence Culinary Training (PCT) curriculum only makes sense. Our culinary students get hands-on experience that will follow them into the workplace. What's more, they can graduate from the PCT program knowing they supported a good cause and helped to feed children while they were at it.
If you live within Second Harvest Food Bank's service region, it’s likely you have seen our Providence Community Meals vans headed out around town. You can follow them to meal sites throughout the local area and know that your support of Second Harvest is hard at work, in the form of mashed potatoes and carrots, freshly baked dinner rolls, and, yes, the occasional slice of every kid’s favorite--pizza.
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