Empowering People


SAN FRANCISCO, CA (Ivanhoe Newswire) — A non-profit has discovered a way to help the disenfranchised secure a path to employment and at the same time feed the food insecure. It all started in one kitchen. Empowering People

The saying goes “Everyone deserves a second chance.” However, many have a tough time finding that chance. For instance, the unemployment rate for those formerly incarcerated is nearly five times greater than others in the U.S. But one organization is offering new hope to those encountering obstacles with a path toward steady work.

Located in a small hub of San Francisco, is a busy kitchen where everyone works in perfect unison. Thanks to ‘Farming Hope,’ the disenfranchised are getting a second chance at a fresh start. Empowering People

“What Farming Hope is it’s a non-profit that empowers people to overcome obstacles to employment,” says Kerry Rodgers, Co-executive Director of Farming Hope.

Over the course of twelve weeks, Farming Hope’s paid apprentices learn the skills needed to cook and manage a restaurant, paving the way for steady employment. It’s a new spin on how to help those facing obstacles in their lives.

“The people who enter our program are all really ready to take advantage of that opportunity, and that makes a big difference,” said Rodgers.

Larry Bolton is one of those people. His earlier cooking experience was sidelined by addiction.

“I was pretty rusty. We went from top to bottom and back again on how to work in a kitchen and then basically be a culinary leader in the industry,” said Larry Bolton.

The apprentices also help run Farming Hope’s Cafe, which serves the general public.

“For the first six weeks, they are here at our commercial kitchen. We produce meals that get sent out to the community to food insecure folks. A lot of our apprentices go on to work in the food industry,” said Rodgers.

“I run the floor, there’s 22 employees on our busy nights. It’s like you’re commanding a ship,” said Bolton.

“So many people come into our program and by the time they leave they say I feel like I’m a different person. If you have hope that can just give way to amazing possibilities,” said Rodgers.

Farming Hope’s apprentices produce a thousand meals a week in their commercial kitchen for shelters and food insecure. Many of the apprentices have also personally experienced what it’s like to be homeless and to not have enough food.

Contributors to this news report include: Jennifer Winters, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.

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