The Community Kitchens program is a simple but enormously successful concept. Modeled after a program begun over ten years ago at the D.C. Central Kitchen in Washington D.C., Community Kitchens trains unemployed people in the culinary profession, giving them valuable kitchen skills, while they re-prepare rescued surplus food into balanced meals that are served to people in need. Courses are taught by professional chefs and usually include life-skills and job-readiness training, as well as placement in career-track positions in the foodservice industry.
Food banks and food-rescue programs across the country have brought this program to their local communities in innovative and impactful ways. For instance, Rachel's Table Community Kitchen, which is run by the Rachel's Table of Greater New Haven, in Connecticut, houses its coursework at a temporary shelter for homeless pregnant women and women with young children. The program recently opened up its doors to all eligible women in the community.
The Community Kitchens program has an outstanding record, with a job retention rate of more than eighty percent for program graduates. Whereas thirty to forty percent of those who left welfare and found jobs were no longer working twelve months later.