July 29, 2019

Johnny Goes to Washington

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

Six months after completing Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, Johnny Brummit received an invitation of a lifetime. On July 25, he traveled with his grandmother who instilled a love of cooking in him, to Washington, DC to speak at the White House as part of the one-year celebration event in honor of the Pledge to America’s Workers.

Through Second Harvest’s partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Johnny received specialized job training skills necessary to excel in the hospitality industry. Within his first six months of employment at Aloft Downtown Orlando, Johnny has been promoted twice and now works as the Lead Breakfast Cook.  

At the White House, Johnny shared the stage with President Trump, Vice President Pence and Ivanka Trump, who is overseeing the Pledge, a call to action to create more and better jobs.

“I wanted to do better for my family and I took this opportunity,” explained Johnny. “It has all led to this life-changing moment to me.”

Johnny shared with a national audience about his childhood, how his grandmother raised him and despite spending time in Juvenile Detention, he graduated from high school before finding his way to Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program. His training included safe food handling, knife skills, resume writing and communication, among many other lessons.

In reflecting on this experience, Johnny says, “Words cannot express how glad I feel. When they first asked me to come to the White House, I thought they were kidding. I was nervous. Being here has been life-transforming and I still can’t believe it.”

Highlights of his time in Washington have been a visit to the Smithsonian, a tour of the Capitol and meeting the President’s chef. “I really enjoyed going inside the White House kitchen. What an amazing opportunity that most people don’t get to see.”

Johnny and his grandmother visited with several of our local elected officials, including Rep. Stephanie Murphy and Rep. Val Demings. They also celebrated his grandmother’s birthday.

Johnny is on his way back to Orlando and is ready to get back to work.

“There’s a lot of room for growth at Aloft and I’m thankful for the opportunities they continue to give me to grow as a professional.” Johnny has added several items to the breakfast menu, including breakfast sandwiches. But his favorite is the southern breakfast, a plate of cheese grits, crispy chicken bites and a poached egg.

In parting, Johnny says, “They say the sky is the limit, but I say shoot for the stars. Your struggle does not define you. Your past does not define you. It’s all about what you do today.”




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