United Bank Foundation MA Helps Fund Providence Ministries Culinary & Food Programs
The United Bank Foundation Massachusetts today announced they recently and unanimously approved a $7,500 grant for the Providence Ministries for the Needy, Inc. (PMN). Specifically, $5,000 will be dedicated to PMN’s foodWorks@Kate’s Kitchen - an intensive 12-week culinary training and job placement program for under and unemployed adults in the Pioneer Valley – and an additional $2,500 for other food programs, such as Kate’s Kitchen which serves over 100 hot meals per day, 365 days of the year.
foodWorks@Kate’s Kitchen was launched in 2013 as a job culinary training program for individuals from Holyoke and surrounding areas who are finding it challenging to secure employment. According to PMN, foodWorks is a solution-based program that is designed to provide a pathway back into the workforce. Individuals – ranging in ages from 18 to 62 – are eligible to participate, including those who are unemployed or underemployed; veterans; recovering addicts; homeless; or others who are transitioning from incarceration but face educational barriers.
The program runs five days a week to provide students with hands-on kitchen experience and the opportunity to prepare noon-time meals for PMN to help feed the hungry. It’s tuition free for students and relies solely on grants from organizations like the United Bank Foundation Massachusetts and individual donors. The total cost per student who participates in the 12-week course is $2,425 which includes entry into the program, text books and classroom materials, food the instruction, test and exam fees and other expenses. The 12th
week of the program is a student internship.
“Over the past three years, foodWorks@Kate’s Kitchen has evolved into a successful and collaborative culinary job training program that has had proven success in empowering individuals with opportunities to become employable in various food service jobs while ultimately putting them in a better position to support their families and become valuable contributors to the Pioneer Valley community,” said Dena M. Hall, Western Mass Regional President, Chief Marketing Officer and President of the United Bank Foundation. “We are proud of our community partnership with foodWorks@Kate’s Kitchen and Providence Ministries and join the other local agencies and private organizations that recognize the value of this program: to enhance access to employment for trained culinary artists, improve self-sufficiency and provide nutritious meals to the hungry in Holyoke and the surrounding communities.”
To date, foodWorks@Kate’s Kitchen has achieved a 63% graduation rate and a 65% job placement success for program graduates. To learn more about Providence Ministries for the Needy, Inc. please visit www.provministries.org