N.H. Food Bank, Breaking The Cycle Of Food Insecurity
The work of the New Hampshire Food Bank is well established in the state, providing millions of pounds of food every year to food pantries and soup kitchens north and south. Less well-known, perhaps, are the programs it has developed that address the causes of hunger -- helping people get training that leads to employment and to food security.
KatheQuin was a struggling single mom, bouncing from job to job, enduring a litany of layoffs. This took a toll not just on her but her sons, “they used to see me come home frustrated, not liking the job I had. I’d come home from another layoff, and then here we go: the search for another job.” She had a passion for food and wanted to become a professional chef, but couldn’t afford the tuition for culinary school, and so took what jobs she could.
Then she found out about NHFB’sRecipe for Success Culinary Training Program. “I interviewed for it and they accepted me and it changed my life. It’s one of the best things that I’ve done.”
The eight-week program is a crash course in how to prepare food, and manage a kitchen. Quinn explains that “it’s hands on from the time you start to the time you finish. So you know exactly what to expect when you get a job in a kitchen.” For seven hours a day, five days a week, participants are taught everything from knife skills and nutrition, to equipment maintenance and staff management.
For Quinn the proof of the pudding was in the eating. “After six weeks, I applied for a job in a country club and was accepted on the spot. And right before I graduated I started my job as a sauté chef.”
The cycle of food insecurity is a tough one to break, but thanks to her training, Quinn has a huge leg up. “I haven’t been out of a job since I took the training and I’m doing what I love, which is cooking. I’m a happier version of myself.”