October 23, 2017

Where Avocation and Vocation Meet

Author: Erika Spence

It has been said that Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida offers programs that are life-saving and life-changing. Today, more than 75 friends, family members, community leaders and supporters gathered to witness the transformative power of the Second Harvest Culinary Training Program at the graduation of Class 23, 24 and 25. To date the program has graduated 210 students with 100 percent placement in better-than-minimum-wage jobs.

There are many partners that make programs like the Culinary Training Program possible. Jodie Hardman from Bank of America reminded the audience that everyone can be a partner in a student’s success: as a donor, financially supporting the cause; a volunteer, contributing time and effort to make the end result possible; a supporter, providing encouragement and strength; and an advocate, telling others what you have experienced, witnessed and learned about Second Harvest Food Bank and its mission. As part of their commitment to support economic mobility, Bank of America presented a $30,000 donation to help continue the culinary training program.

Soline Dulcio and Frank Norwood are two freshly minted advocates, sharing how their experience in the Culinary Training Program changed their lives. Read More …

October 18, 2017

How Do You Measure a Year?

Author: Erika Spence

The rock musical Rent asks, “How do you measure a year?” One year after graduating from Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s Culinary Training Program, Susan Anderson measures her year in three words: Courage. Discipline. Confidence.

Anderson originally applied to the inaugural Culinary Training Program class in 2013, but delayed entry because she wasn’t ready. She hesitated to take such a big leap and change careers. Her wages stagnated, she lost her car, and then her home. She reapplied with the hope of a new beginning for her family.

“I was working in retail management and food service but my career was stalled,” recalls Anderson. “Completing this program gave me the courage to step outside my comfort zone and see the opportunities for better wages and marketable skills.” Read More …

October 9, 2017

Cake Fair Founder Inspires Culinary Students

Author: Erika Spence

Knock on doors. Take chances. Look for new experiences.

This is just some of the advice Kevin O’Reilly shared with students in Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s Culinary Training Program. O’Reilly is the founder & CEO of Satin Fine Foods, Inc. and The America’s Cake Fair, which is hosting its second celebration of cake at the Orange County Convention Center later this month. He recently met with students to share his story of culinary success in hopes of inspiring future food industry employees. Read More …

June 29, 2017

How the Culinary Training Program Changed My Life

Author: Guest Blogger

Chef Shandra - former Culinary Training Student at Second Harvest Food BankWhen I started the Second Harvest Culinary Training Program, it changed my life.

Before this program, I was an assistant manager at a gas station, but even with that job, it was still a struggle for my husband and me to keep our heads above water. When I heard about this program from a friend, I hesitated to call, at first. When I finally did, though, I never could have imagined how much my life was about to change for the better.

In the beginning, it was a huge challenge for me. My hours were cut to part-time at work, and we were relying on my husband’s small income. I was worried I would have to quit and find more work so we wouldn’t get behind on bills. Read More …

May 2, 2017

Congrats to our Graduating Classes!

Author: Idalia Nunez

April 2017 Second Harvest Culinary Training Program GraduationOn April 28, 2017, Second Harvest Culinary Training Program held the graduation ceremony for Class 20, 21, and 22. During the graduation ceremony, certificates of completion were awarded to 24 students. Our commencement speaker was Chef Nora Galdiano from Sysco. Chef Nora reminded our graduates there is no easy road to success you must work hard but not forget to have fun. She pointed out to the importance of seeking out mentors and staying connected to people. Read More …

November 22, 2016

Celebrating Our Students’ Success

Author: Idalia Nunez

November 2016 Culinary & Distribution Training GraduationWe live in a complicated world full of stress, lists, hectic days, with little time to delight in the beauty and people around us.  Last Friday, we were able to pause and celebrate our Culinary and Distribution Training Program students at their graduation. It was such a special day for not only the students but for their families and friends.

From our community partners to our business partners, Board members, and Second Harvest staff we all rejoiced together as we witnessed the beautiful smiling faces of each graduating student.  Students from class 17, 18 and 19 all came together once again to celebrate their accomplishment. Read More …