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Food Bank Trains Pipeline of Talent to Address Critical Shortage of Soup Kitchens Operating in NYC

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November 11, 2019

Graduates of new culinary training program to embark on externships at soup kitchens across the city.

New York, NY — In response to the record low number of soup kitchens operating in the five boroughs, Food Bank For New York City has created a culinary training program that will prepare a new generation of young talent to craft and serve vital meals for New Yorkers in need. Establishing a pipeline of trained workers will help build capacity for under-resourced soup kitchens, allowing them to better serve communities.

This week, Food Bank honored the inaugural cohort of graduates who have spent the last two months training by preparing more than 500 meals each day for visitors to Food Bank’s community kitchen in Harlem. Now, the trainees will be placed in externships in soup kitchens in their own neighborhoods in order to give back to their communities and serve as a resource for charities operating on a shoestring budget with minimal resources.

“This program puts a pipeline in place that will serve and engage our youth, help lift families out of poverty, and provide both immediate solutions and lasting community impact,” said Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. “Our city has a record low number of soup kitchens in operation, and lack of resources mean that in some high-need communities, few – if any – emergency food providers are open on evenings or weekends. By building the capacity of charities operating in the deepest pockets of poverty in our city, we can start to fill the holes of our safety net and ensure critical resources are available to all New Yorkers.”

Food Bank’s culinary training program was funded by the Jacques Pépin Foundation, and the curriculum was designed by Chef Max Hardy, a member of Food Bank’s Culinary Council. Students received professional instruction from seasoned chefs and learned the basics of preparing and serving meals in a fully equipped kitchen. They also learned how to create healthy meals entirely from donated food and increased their knowledge of food service and restaurant operations.


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The students’ experience in the Community Kitchen with ingredient substitution and best practices will be an asset to the city’s emergency food network, and they will learn how to adapt to new environments during their externships that will further equip them to join the culinary workforce.

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About Food Bank For New York City

For 36 years, Food Bank For New York City has been the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end hunger throughout the five boroughs. Nearly one in five New Yorkers relies on Food Bank for food and other resources. Food Bank takes a strategic, multifaceted approach that provides meals and builds capacity in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among all New Yorkers. Through its network of more than 1,000 charities and schools citywide, Food Bank provides food for more than 61 million free meals per year for New Yorkers in need. Food Bank For New York City’s income support services, including food stamps (also known as SNAP) and free tax assistance for the working poor, put more than $110 million each year into the pockets of New Yorkers, helping them to afford food and achieve greater dignity and independence. Food Bank’s nutrition education programs and services empower more than 50,000 children, teens and adults to sustain a healthy diet and active lifestyle on a limited budget. Working toward long-term solutions to food poverty, Food Bank develops policy and conducts research to inform community and government efforts. To learn more about how you can help, please visit Follow us on Facebook (FoodBank4NYC), Twitter (@FoodBank4NYC) and Instagram (FoodBank4NYC).

Contact: Jennifer Barden –|(646) 676-4486


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