With the summer growing season upon us, Hospitality House staff and guests joined together to plant the six raised beds that front the homeless shelter. Soil to refresh the beds was donated by Rare Earth and picked up by a former Hospitality House guest, Les, who manages the garden.
A sponsor of the culinary job readiness program, BriarPatch provided zucchini and herb plants that, when harvested in late summer by the culinary students, will enrich healthy meals cooked and served at the shelter.
Any guest at the shelter can sign up for this two-day culinary class. After receiving their online ServSafe certification so that they can work in a food service facility, they can start taking the classes, held in the commercial kitchen at Hospitality House.
The Culinary Job Readiness Program is a 12-week, 24-course program of basic training on sanitation, knife skills, nutrition, and food costs. Each class is recipe-specific and teaches how to create a meal on a small scale for a family, and then expands that same recipe to feed a large group of 60 people. So students learn not only how to make meals at home, but also gain the experience of working in a commercial kitchen setting.
BriarPatch provides farm-fresh ingredients for the meals that the culinary students create for the rest of the shelter guests. Shopping at BriarPatch has been an education in itself for the students, as they identify what is in season and within the budget for feeding a large group. Since the culinary students make dinner for the 54 men, women, and children staying at the shelter, they learn to consider costs while planning a balanced, nutritious meal. To foster a connection between Hospitality House staff and guests and local farmers, in 2017 BriarPatch arranged a farm tour for culinary students; one student said it was the first time she had ever been to a farm.
BriarPatch’s support of the Hospitality House culinary job readiness program ensures that our homeless neighbors have access to high quality, healthy products, especially local and organic food