Creating Community Through Cooking: HomewardBound’s Culinary Vocational Training

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“Food is the most basic necessity, but even more importantly than that is that food brings folks together.”

Daryl D’aMico is the culinary director for HomewardBound, a year-round homeless shelter serving the Grand Valley. He brings his culinary knowledge to the shelter’s kitchen every day; but now, he’s sharing that knowledge with residents through the SHARP program.

“This is a way to prepare folks not just for a professional food service aspect, but also to take care of themselves,” D’aMico Says.
The program is focused on getting residents more comfortable with food, and teaches them valuable cooking skills.
“Not only are they going to help us in aiding in production for cooking for their fellow residents, but this is going to help them work on job skills, where they might not be able to receive other places.” Skills that might one day help them become employed.

Right now, the class is in its test phase, with a tentative official start date this fall. But for one student, classes began early. Christopher has been training alongside Daryl for the past few weeks.
“Oh, it’s great,” he says. “It’s part of what gives you back some of your dignity and some pride in what you’re doing.” He knows his way around the kitchen, and will now help Daryl share his love of all things food with students.
“Getting them into the kitchen, and getting them back doing what the love to do, and getting people who haven’t done it but actually preparing them for jobs out there.”
“Food being my entire life, these are secrets that I am not just willing to share, but I feel that they are necessary for people to understand about what they’re doing with their bodies and their food,” D’aMico adds.

Although the SHARP program is for residents only, community members can find themselves in HomewardBound’s kitchen, too, helping share in the feeling of love a well-cooked meal can create.

For more information on volunteering for HomewardBound, visit this site.

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