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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

PHILABUNDANCE COMMUNITY KITCHEN BREAKS GROUND IN NORTH PHILADELPHIA

New facility will double students in job training program and significantly increase meals produced

 

Philadelphia, PA, May 6, 2019– Today, Philabundance, the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, held a groundbreaking for its new Philabundance Community Kitchen job training and meal production facility at 2224 N. 10th Street. Construction will begin immediately on this new, dedicated space for the program; the building is expected to be completed in spring 2020.

Since 2000, PCK has been a free, 14-week culinary training and life skills program, providing opportunities to adults with no- to low income who need not just a job, but a second chance at life. Through city and other food service contracts, PCK has served over 250,000 meals annually to Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents, but it has outgrown its current space at a Philadelphia city housing shelter.

“We are thrilled to welcome Philabundance Community Kitchen’s new home to our community,” Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) said. “No one in the City of Philadelphia should be food insecure, and everyone deserves opportunities for meaningful work. Construction of this building will transform a long-vacant plot of land into a safe community space, and once fully operational, Philabundance Community Kitchen will provide our neighbors the training they need to secure good-paying jobs while giving back by making meals for those facing hunger.”

In its history, PCK has produced more than four million meals, while simultaneously helping more than 850 graduates enter the workforce. Staff support is provided throughout the program, as well as for up to two years after graduation to help participants secure living wage jobs in the culinary industry. Currently, PCK trains between 80 to 100 students annually, but with a new, dedicated space, it can expand its impact in the community.

The new building will be a 18,800 square foot, state-of-the-art culinary training and production facility, allowing PCK to:

– Teach twice as many students
– Send more graduates into the workforce
– Quadruple the number of meals provided to those in need
– Create dedicated space for PCKatering, a social enterprise whose proceeds go towards the program

Once the new facility opens, the program will be extended to 16 weeks, increasing the amount of time staff will work with students and graduates to stabilize their economic and social well-being, as many students are formerly incarcerated, do not have a high school diploma and/or have not held steady work.

“The City supports the Philabundance Community Kitchen’s expansion because it has improved economic outcomes for more than 850 of our residents, pays a living wage, and provides stability for students by teaching them valuable life skills,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

Restaurants offering live wage jobs that have hired graduates include: Chickie and Pete’s; Moshulu; R2L; Broad Table Tavern in Swarthmore; the Philadelphia Country Club; and more.

Graduate Melanie Texiera secured a job with the highly-acclaimed Moshulu. She was once in prison, and never thought she’d be where she is today. “At 27 years old, I had already worked at a bunch of different places, including 7-Eleven, but I didn’t really have a career path lined up. Through PCK, I learned culinary and baking skills, patience and even changed my attitude. I joined PCK to do something better with my life, and now I am well on my way.”

The new facility will offer: community space, including a demonstration kitchen and meeting rooms; a dedicated kitchen wing for meal production, for PCKatering and for the rescue and processing of food for the community; and a learning space for students, including classrooms and kitchens. View a video walkthrough of the new PCK facility.

In 2017, Philabundance launched a capital campaign for this project: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Honorable Governor Wolf provided financial assistance; The City of Philadelphia donated the land and provided substantial seed funding; The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation made a leadership grant; and the project received support from other foundations, corporations and individuals. To date, PCK has raised $11 million of its $12 million goal.

“We are grateful to the Commonwealth, the City, and all donors who have helped make this dream a reality,” said Philabundance Board Chairman Noel Eisenstat. “As we break ground, we seek the generosity of others to help support this program. The last $1 million raised will equip the building with supplies and technology, as well as fund the first few classes of students.”

For more information or to request an interview, please contact Stefanie Arck-Baynes, Director of Communications at Philabundance, at sarck-baynes@philabundance.org or 215-339-0900 x 1503.

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About Philabundance Community Kitchen
Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK) is a 14-week culinary vocational training program which has been transforming the lives of low-income women and men since 2000. Students who are accepted into the 500-hour program will; earn their ServSafe certificate; have an internship opportunity in the culinary industry; prepare meals for those in need; and receive retention services by PCK staff for two years after graduation. While PCK promotes the self-sufficiency of its students by preparing them to work in commercial kitchens, another focus of the curriculum is on life skills, which helps students not just secure a job but a second chance at life. Philabundance.org/PCK
About Philabundance
Philabundance is the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, seeking to drive hunger from our communities today and end hunger for good. In 2018, it distributed more than 26 million pounds through a network of 350 member agencies, and partnerships with hospitals, schools, libraries and other service providers. Philabundance serves more than 90,000 people each week, 30 percent of whom are children, 16 percent of whom are seniors, and others served include college students, single parents and the working class. Give now or learn more at Philabundance.org.