Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina offers culinary training program

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It may look like an ordinary kitchen inside Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, but this is far more transformative.

“The work we're doing today will have implications for our community for decades and generations to come,” said Heather Martin, director of strategy and donor relations.

Providence is a 13-week culinary training program of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.

“Our typical student is someone who has a past that inhibits them from being someone who is easily employable,” said Martin. “Perhaps they`ve struggled with addiction, or they`ve been incarcerated, or perhaps they were just never able to complete their high school education.”

Executive Director Jeff Bacon started Providence in 2006.

“I felt like God told me to, and now just that one act of obedience has lead to all this,” said Bacon. “We have two restaurants, a catering company, a school, a community meals program and there are over 70 people working for the Providence department now so it`s really an amazing amount of growth.”

The Winston-Salem Foundation has been a longtime supporter of Providence and its mission, ultimately allowing the program to reach even more people who may otherwise be overlooked.

“Every single person on this planet is born with innate gifts and sometimes the weight of life and circumstances just beat those down and they don`t even think they have worth,” said Bacon. “We just want them to find their gifts, find their worth and elevate those.”

“When I see the ability we have to go into a person`s life and teach them a skill, work with them through—not just their addiction, but underlying causes, what got them there in the first place—I think that`s a really powerful thing,” said Martin.

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