TOLEDO, OH—Classes start up March 17 for our newest ministry initiative—Catholic Charities Opportunity Kitchen, a pilot workforce development project launched at Helping Hands of St. Louis last May of 2019.
The goal is to change lives by providing a skill-driven, hands-on immersion culinary program to at-risk, economically disadvantaged individuals through focused culinary coursework in the classroom and kitchen. Emphasis is placed on the life skills training needed to work with competence and professionalism in all aspects of the food service industry and beyond for a sustainable and successful career.
Catholic Charities Opportunity Kitchen is an intense, fast-paced, 80-hour culinary “boot camp,” taught by Chef Saundra Irvine. To graduate, students must complete 18, half-day classes over a 10-week period. The program combines personal and video instruction with hands-on learning in commercial kitchens.
Attendees learn culinary techniques and best practices from leaders in the food service industry. Students are tested and attain Health Department ServSafe® certification.
This summer, three of the young men enrolled in the pilot program graduated—one a former heroin addict, another incarcerated for 12 years. All three are now gainfully employed. This fall, five more men graduated from Catholic Charities Opportunity Kitchen.
“These young men learned a lot more than simple cooking skills,” says Charles Rittenhouse, Catholic Charities Board President, who spoke with each graduate after the ceremony. “This program is truly transformative. These graduates are using all they learned as a stepping off point for long-term success. They are thinking about their future and not simply what they need to do to survive. Their lives have become better for it.”
“We received unprecedented information, skills and tools that will help us with any person or situation we ever will come in contact with,” says Jermaine, who graduated from Catholic Charities Opportunity Kitchen last summer. “This was us becoming a family, building a lasting legacy that I hope everyone will have the opportunity to experience and learn.”
Community support for the program is strong, with start-up funding coming from the Toledo Community Foundation and additional support from the Anderson Foundation and Caresource Foundation.
Sponsors include Burkett Restaurant Equipment and Supplies, Calphalon, Meijer, Renaissance Hotels, Sarnie’s Café, Starbucks, TFS Results Company and Wersell’s Bike Shop.
Catholic Charities is looking for more community partners to sustain this new initiative. Potential funders are asked to contact Rodney Schuster, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo, directly, at 419. 214.4943 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals interested in enrolling in the program are asked to contact Byron Wynn, Catholic Charities Volunteer Coordinator, at 419.214.4950 or email email@example.com.
We invite you to take a few minutes to watch this video and learn more about the impact of Catholic Charities Opportunity Kitchen.
PERRYSBURG, OH—You won’t want to miss this moving program, sure to inspire your Lenten journey. Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo’s Jail & Prison Ministries is hosting this double presentation on Sunday, March 8, from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. inside Saint John XXIII’s new Catholic Church building, 24250 Dixie Highway, Perrysburg, OH.
This free program, “Redemption: Against All Odds, features two moving accounts and is open to people of all faiths. When all seemed lost, hope is restored and new life in Christ Jesus created! Please reserve your seat by registering online.
Rev. Herb Weber, founding pastor of Saint John XXIII, will share his experiences working with death-row prisoners at Mansfield Correctional Institution and accompanying one man as his personal chaplain to his execution at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio. It is an overwhelming story Father Herb rarely tells.
Johnny Harvey, convicted of homicide and released after 32 years of incarceration, will share his witness testimony about being saved through the love of prison ministry volunteers. When all seemed lost—hope was restored and a new life through Christ Jesus was the result. A moving story of a Redeemed Life!
The event will be streamed live at www.stjohn23.org/watch-live for those unable to attend.
Deacons attending will be eligible for 3 CEUs. For more information, contact Deacon Ed Irelan, Catholic Charities Justice Ministry Coordinator at 419.214.4958 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2019, over 10,000 incarcerated men and women benefited from Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo’s Jail & Prison Ministry Masses/Communion Services, ALPHA and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes, Rosary prayers and worship in Lima, Mansfield, Stryker and Toledo correctional facilities.
MANSFIELD, OH—Beat the winter blues by coming to a Beach Party at the Mall! Catholic Charities is hosting the 10th Annual National Consumer Resource Fair, Saturday, March 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Richland Mall, in Mansfield, OH.
Catholic Charities and participating organizations will provide free information on such topics as managing money and debt, protecting personal identification, wellness, and avoiding identify theft and scams.
“The purpose of National Consumer Protection Week is to educate consumers on how to make informed decisions when it comes to money and their financial affairs,” said Rebecca Owens, Regional Director for Mansfield Catholic Charities. “We continue to see many people being preyed upon by scams and identity theft while trying to meet their basic needs of food, shelter and medical needs.”
Over 20 organizations will participate in the Consumer Resource Fair, including the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio Consumers Council, Ohio Department of Commerce, Directions Credit Union, Richland Bank, GROhio Community Credit Union, Civista Bank, First Call-211, Adult Protective Services, local law enforcement, Mansfield City Schools Adult Education, and other social service agencies and financial institutions.
Catholic Charities has partnered with the Ohio Attorney General’s office for 10 years to participate in the annual National Consumer Protection Week to educate and empower the community. This year National Consumer Protection Week is being celebrated March 1-7, 2020.