When there’s a global COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Bank of Delaware responds! In addition to distributing 17,907,123 pounds of food from March 16, 2020 to March 16, 2021 to the community – our neighbors, we also continued our workforce development programs. We pivoted to find effective strategies to provide vital employment training through our Delaware Food Works initiative while adhering to mandated COVID compliance.
Thanks to the commitment of our staff and students, we met those goals through a hybrid model using remote instructional technology and small in-person group trainings. Today we celebrated those successes with a Zoom graduation ceremony. The graduates represent L.O.G.I.C. (Logistics, Operations, General Warehousing and Inventory Control) and culinary schools in Milford and Newark.
Workforce Training Program Manager Lisa Grinnage was mistress of ceremonies Wednesday morning, and Chief Programs Officer Charlotte McGarry introduced guest speaker Jim Pugliese, Warehouse Operations Manager, Choctaw-Kaul Distribution in New Castle. He praised the graduates and the programs. “It’s amazing. You can now demonstrate what you’ve learned,” he said.
The Food Bank’s Operations Instructor Erik Klair, Chef Instructor Tim Hunter and Grinnage also congratulated the graduates for successfully reaching their goals to complete their respective programs.
Each graduate had an opportunity to speak, and each uniquely expressed appreciation and gratitude for the program and the support they received from Food Bank staff and instructors.
“I was in a tough spot in life before I started here. I didn’t have a job, and I was on the verge of going downhill,” said L.O.G.I.C. grad Brendan Davis. “I’m really grateful for the program.”
Several graduates proudly stated – thanks to the program and their training – they have jobs in their new fields.
“I lost my job in the pandemic,” said Milford Culinary School grad Endora Jefferson. “I found the Food Bank on Facebook, and this program helped me mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I want to thank Chef Tish [chef instructor] for pushing me. I have a job already. You guys actually saved my life, and I’m grateful.”
Delaware Food Works, an initiative of the Food Bank of Delaware, offers workforce development training, and the next sessions – both L.O.G.I.C. (Newark only) and culinary schools in Newark and Milford – start March 22 with classes meeting remotely and in small-group sessions!
Brendan Davis, Christopher Evans, Euvie Johnson, Bar Saadiq, Joseph Santa Maria, Dieirdre Scrivens-Evans, Jermaine Whidbee, Willie Williams, Kavahn Wise
Milford Culinary Graduates
Endora Jefferson, Zachary Meding, Ashlee Morsberger, LaMonte Scott, Nicholas Thompson
Newark Culinary School Graduates
Daniel Barry, Melissa Brown, Frances “Fran” Callahan, Xiomara Cruz-colon, Cassandra Lamar, Ruth Muli, Freda Ofori, Sarah Rotenberry, Darryl Simms, Aleksander Smith