Giving Guide: Community Kitchen Pittsburgh

Community Kitchen Pittsburgh (CKP) is a culinary school unlike most. CKP recruits students who are overcoming a variety of barriers and struggling to find a job. Students come from all walks of life—reentrants, recovery, survivors—looking for a second chance. The organization gives this second chance by preparing them for careers in culinary and associated fields. Students earn wages while enrolled at CKP, earn transferrable credits to CCAC, and go on to paid apprenticeships and jobs in culinary, baking, and inventory management.

The program is successful because the curriculum is grounded in an operational commercial kitchen. Food services are both the operational underpinning for the agency, and the foundation for our training.

In addition, hunger relief efforts are at the heart of CKP’s food services. Since 2013, CKP students and chefs have prepared and served over 3.5 million meals to low income, food insecure adults and children throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. In this way, CKP students are giving back to the community every day—even while they are overcoming their own personal challenges.

With your help, CKP will continue to open doors for people seeking second chances and opportunity.

Among the students whose stories move the organization to continue its work is JA. When JA came to Community Kitchen Pittsburgh, he was 35 years old, homeless, and had never worked a legitimate job before. By chance, JA spoke to a woman at a bus stop who knew about the CKP program and brought JA to us the day they met. JA was very shy and ashamed of his circumstances and didn’t know how to explain his situation. JA didn’t even have the proper identification needed to enroll. CKP’s Programs Department helped JA get state identification and a replacement Social Security Card. During his time at CKP, the Program staff was able to find him a place to live. After completing the training program, he was placed in his first real job with one of our employee partners. Within 6 months on the job, he moved into a supervisory position.

Another alum of the program, AC, has both cognitive and physical impairments. He worked very hard during his training at CKP and never let his disabilities keep him from completing a task. Being accepted at CKP was a highlight in his life after years of bullying and not being accepted within the workforce. As AC neared graduation CKP staff members began to reach out to employers. AC was hired at a large institution’s dietary department as a dishwasher, and he has flourished. AC is now receiving benefits and was able to obtain an apartment and live on his own for the first time.

Your gift to Community Kitchen Pittsburgh will go to work immediately to ensure that all of its students have a path forward to stability and success. Please make your gift at ckpgh.org/donatetoday or contact 412.206.2926

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY COMMUNITY KITCHEN PITTSBURGH

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