Food Bank of Delaware culinary training program offers second chances
August 24, 2023
What an inspiring day at the Food Bank of Delaware!
The accomplishments of nine students from our Culinary School were celebrated this morning at a graduation ceremony. The graduates served as a reminder that it’s never too late to pursue one’s passion. The ceremony marked not only their culinary achievements but was also a celebration of second chances.
The graduates were:
- Thaighler Adkins
- Terin Cochran
- Chaniz Curry
- Rae’sheed Deshields
- Clarissa Haglid
- Bashirah Harris
- Tyrone Martin
- Kameika Moore
- Stephanas Stratton
The nine adults have spent the past 14 weeks learning the ins and outs of the culinary field. From proper knife handling techniques to ServSafe ® certification and completing a two-week work experience, the students are prepared for entry-level jobs in the food service industry.
For graduate Clarissa Haglid, The Culinary School was the second chance she needed and her first opportunity to celebrate a graduation. “My experience at the Food Bank of Delaware has been a lifeline for me, being back in society,” she said. “It’s helped my mental health, helped me regain confidence. I still have something to offer, and I’m able to reach people. I have support.”
Clarissa and her classmates have not only developed proficiency in culinary techniques, but have also gained insights into team work and time management.
For Kameika Moore, the training program was just what she needed to get back on her feet. A 45-year-old mother of three and grandmother of two, her life took an unexpected turn after a divorce and a debilitating back injury resulted in the loss of her job and apartment. In the face of adversity, she found hope and a second chance at Sojourner’s Place, a homeless shelter in Wilmington. It was there that she learned about The Culinary School.
“Going through this program has given me the tools and development I needed to take my passions to new levels,” she said.
Lenny McClain, Culinary School graduate and Owner/Operator of Slappsters Kitchen, provided inspiring keynote remarks. After a 13-year prison stint, Lenny found a second chance through The Culinary School and graduated back in 2017. Since graduating, he has been cooking and building his own business; he launched his food truck in February 2023.
“Only by the grace of God am I here today,” he told graduates. “When I was in prison, I thought if I ever had the opportunity to come home I was going to make sure it was meaningful, it was purposeful. When an opportunity came for parole, my family told me about The Culinary School. The opportunity was given to me. Life is about responsibility. If a man doesn’t work, he can’t eat. In life we have to work. It’s about principals, integrity, consistency…”
The next 14-week culinary training program at the Food Bank of Delaware begins on September 11. To learn more about the program, visit www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school.