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Recipes for Success: Shaneka

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Shaneka's story of hope and courage

Meet Shaneka

Shaneka saw her life go up in smoke, literally.

First, she fled an abusive relationship. Then, without notice, the telemarking company she worked for closed its doors. When she couldn’t pay her bills any longer, she and her three kids had no choice but to pack up their belongings and live in the family car.

“I made some tough choices that I wasn’t proud of at the time,” she explains.

One day, they were driving to a park when smoke started blowing from under the hood. She pulled over for help and quickly rushed the kids out of the car.

Moments later two men rushed out with a fire extinguisher. They stopped in their tracks. The car was engulfed in flames.

“Everything we had was in that car and, just like that, it was gone,” recalls Shaneka.

The fire department connected Shaneka and her kids with food and temporary housing, a welcome relief after such a tragic event. Four days later, Shaneka sent her two daughters back to live with their dad. She didn’t know what she was going to do. She had nowhere to go and no job to provide for herself and her son.

Just then, her phone rang and that call changed her life. Shaneka learned about Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program and the opportunity to retrain for a new career.

“From the moment I walked through the doors at Second Harvest I felt welcome,” Shaneka explained.

After graduating, Second Harvest offered Shaneka a job where she prepares fresh, wholesome meals for kids in our community.

“Second Harvest offered me something that changed my life for the better and I can’t thank you enough.”

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

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