Archive for the 'Produce' Category

March 5, 2019

Hello Opportunities

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

As Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program students approach the end of the 16-week program, they begin to look for a place to start their new career. One way Second Harvest helps students succeed in the local food industry is through hands-on experiences. One career path could be to work in a hotel kitchen. The Hyatt Regency Orlando recently hosted our students for a field trip so they can better understand what would be required of them in a hotel kitchen.

“Today is all about showing the students the opportunities in front of them when they graduate,” explained Dan Markewicz, Hyatt Regency Orlando’s area recruiter.

The field trip began with a tour of the kitchens to learn about the different positions and how they work together to execute the chef’s vision. Executive Chef David Barrett explained that it does not matter where you start in the food industry, “If you work for the job you want, you will be able to move up and one-day achieve your dream job.”

After hearing from Chef Barrett, the students more excited about their careers and all of the positive changes happening in their lives.

“My mom taught me how to cook and I love it. Ever since then I have dreamed of being a chef,” said culinary student Karlen Franis. “Second Harvest has given me hope that I can achieve this goal and now I am very excited to start my career.”

Throughout the day, students visited different kitchens on the property. This eye-opening experience helped some students visualize the types of careers they can pursue.

“I have always loved to bake,” explained culinary student Silvia Perero. “Being able to go into the pastry kitchen helped me realize that is something I can do as a career.”

The tour ended with the students meeting Jorge Daupub, a Culinary Training Program graduate who now works at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. He shared with the students about how he was able to get a job at the Hyatt when the program was over and how his life has changed because of Second Harvest.

“Second Harvest is going to change your life,” said Jorge. “Second Harvest changed my life by giving me the opportunity to train for a better job that I love. Now my life is way better.”

Many thanks to the Hyatt Regency Orlando for giving our students the opportunity to visit a hotel kitchen.

Read more about the many graduates who have benefited from our Culinary Training Program at http://www.feedhopenow.org/need_stories_culinary.

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March 1, 2019

Expanding & Enhancing the Culinary Training Program

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

A month ago, the Culinary Training Program at Second Harvest celebrated three more classes of graduating culinary students, all of which have gone on to be fully employed. With an additional 30 graduating students, there are more than 280 alumni of the program who have each created success for themselves and their families.

Recently, Second Harvest examined how we could expand and enhance the program to increase the employability of our graduates and increase the number of students that go through the program.

State Legislature Request

With the help of State Rep. Kamia Brown (HB 2623) and State Sen. David Simmons, we are requesting $350,000 from the Florida legislature to fund the expansion and enhancement of the culinary program for 80 students. The funding will provide hands-on experience with barista and baking skills. By expanding student knowledge and experience with different aspects of the industry it will increase their employability. Baking skills especially are highly sought after by employers.

Additionally, the funding will go towards a passenger van to transport students to and from field trips to potential employers and provide even more transportation for catering events that are staffed by students.

The Department of Economic Opportunity recently forecasted a 10.7%  increased demand for hospitality employees in Central Florida over the next 8 years. This funding request will directly address this increased demand with highly-skilled culinary graduates.

Next Steps

Second Harvest is currently waiting for the House version of the bill (HB 2623) to be scheduled to be heard in its first House committee — the House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. Once the bill has been scheduled to be heard, you will receive a call to action to ensure it passes out of this committee by contacting all Committee members and asking for their support.

Sign up for advocacy alerts at www.feedhopenow.org/advocacy.

January 14, 2019

Assistance during the Government Shut Down

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

Dear Partner Agencies,

As I am sure you are aware, the government shutdown is entering its 3rd week. This shutdown affects all “non-essential” federal government employees, TSA agents, park rangers, congressional staff etc. Many of these furloughed employees have been working without pay, which is a tremendous strain on them and their families. We are hearing of an increase in need for people in our community to put food on their table. Many of these folks have not faced this situation before.

Please be sensitive to the needs and feelings of these individuals. This may be their first visit to a food pantry and they may not feel comfortable. We suggest that you be flexible with any intake processes you have, especially regarding income since this is a population that may not normally qualify for assistance.

We are monitoring this situation closely and are very aware of the potential hardship that may occur as your agency attempts to feed those in need. We are currently sending any referrals that we receive at the food bank to our Food Finder on our website that will direct them to a pantry or feeding program near them. If this situation is not resolved soon, we will explore additional ways to support you and your agency to provide relief to these clients.

We have a special section on our website with information about this situation. You can check back for updates. The current info is pasted below.

If you are seeing an increase in clients, please notify us immediately so that we can stay on top of this situation and evaluate next steps in supporting you.

Thank you for all that you do for those in need.

Government Shutdown 2019

If you have been affected by the government shutdown please reach out to us for help.

  • Online: Visit our Food Finder tool online to find your local food pantries.  
  • Phone: Call our main number 407-295-1066 to receive a list of food pantries.
  • Visit our community resources page if you need other types of assistance. 

Who does this affect?

The shutdown affects all “non-essential” federal government employees. This means people like TSA agents, park rangers, Congressional staff, staff for whole departments, like USDA.

Because the shutdown has lasted nearly 3 weeks, many of these “furloughed” employees have been working without pay. There’s a lot of uncertainty about how these individuals will be able to pay rent, or how they’ll be able to put food on the table. Approximately 800,000 federal workers and federal contractors have been furloughed without pay for an indefinite period, and it is expected that paychecks for federal workers and contractors will not arrive as scheduled.

It will also affect the 710,000 Central Floridians who use SNAP to put food on their tables. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is funded by the federal government and faces a February deadline for funding.

Other programs such as WIC and Child Nutrition Programs will have funding through February too.

How we will help

Since SNAP (formaly called Food Stamps) has funding through February, we won’t see an immediate impact for this program, but we are already seeing an uptick in searches for feeding partners to find food. We’ve received a few questions from furloughed employees who need resources to assist them during the government shutdown.

We’ve estimated that if this shutdown continues for a few months, we’d have a roughly $500,000 shortfall due to government contracts such as Head Start, after school meals, and others. Once the shutdown ends, we’ll be reimbursed for our social entrepreneurship services.

This equals to approximately 1 million meals that will disappear from Central Florida.

We will not be cutting any services and we will always find a way to continue to support our feeding partners in Central Florida

June 20, 2016

Food Safety and Fresh Produce

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

MangoesFresh fruits and vegetables are a highlight of summertime. There are many different fruits and vegetables in-season during the summer months, and there’s many ways to incorporate them into your snacks and meals.

It is important to make certain that fruits and vegetables are handled with care in order to provide the greatest amount of nutrition and flavor.

Here are some tips to consider:

 

  • Do not distribute damaged or heavily bruised produce.
  • If the produce is not washed before distributing, instruct those who are receiving it to wash before consuming.
  • Do not chop fruits or vegetables on the same cutting board as raw meats. The same utensils used to cut meats should not be used to cut produce, unless the utensils have been cleaned and sanitized properly.

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