May 6, 2019, Harold Brubaker - The Philadelphia Inquirer
Niya Gist suffered a “hurtful” setback last summer when the culinary school she attended closed abruptly.
But now, the 25-year-old North Philadelphia resident is back on track, thanks to Philabundance Community Kitchen’s food-service training program for low- or no-income individuals with little or no formal work experience — a huge problem in Philadelphia, which has the highest poverty rate among the largest U.S. cities.
“This is a breath of fresh air,” said Gist, who spent a recent morning prepping lettuce for sliders, chopping chicken for salad, and slicing green peppers in a city shelter for homeless women and children. “I’m loving it.”
Gist is part of a class of 17 in a 14-week program that goes beyond culinary skills to teach “life skills” to help participants succeed in the workplace after graduation. The Community Kitchen, on North Woodstock Street, has graduated 800 since its founding in 2000, at no cost to the participants, and has outgrown its current quarters.
Relief is on the way.