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Last fall, in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida launched its first bi-lingual class of its successful Culinary Training Program. Over the course of 16 weeks, the students learned the culinary and life skills training needed to transform their lives with a new career.
Today, these proud graduates are working in Central Florida’s food industry.
Clarimar and her husband came to the United States to rebuild their lives after experiencing a rise in violence, economic instability, and food shortages in Venezuela. A hard worker, Clarimar overcame a language barrier in her pursuit of a new career in the food industry. At graduation, she was recognized as the Top Student in her class. Today she is employed at the Walt Disney World Resort’s Swan and Dolphin where she bakes beautiful cakes and desserts.
Miguel lost his home to Hurricane Maria. To make matters worse, one of his daughters has epilepsy and requires a refrigerated medication. Without electricity, it became a daily struggle to find ice and, eventually, a resupply of medicine. His family sought refuge with an aunt while his daughter’s health stabilized and he participated in the program. The family has found a rental home, his daughter is back in school and he is working as a prep cook at Rosen Shingle Creek.
Yamil left Puerto Rico not knowing what was ahead. He was the primary cook at home and had always been interested in working in a kitchen. He learned about the Culinary Training program when he arrived at Orlando International Airport and took advantage of the opportunity to pursue a new career to support his family. He has found employment with Publix Supermarkets in the deli department. His favorite sandwich to make (and eat) is the chicken tender sub.
The Second Harvest Culinary Training Program provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry. To learn more about or apply for the program, visit feedhopenow.org/culinarytraining.