Springboard Kitchens: A “springboard” for the community

The Diva Chef at Springboad Kitchens
The Diva Chef at Springboad Kitchens

Springboard Kitchens, is an organization dedicated to using food as the foundation to improve people’s lives in our communities. Springboard Kitchens does this through its culinary workforce training, and by reaching out to ex- offenders, people struggling with addiction issues and even those who’ve been diagnosed with mental health issues. According to Krista Brolley, the Student Services director at Springboard Kitchen, approximately 40 percent of the students attending their program were either homeless or near homeless.
Michelle Taylor, the Food and Nutrition program director, said, “We provide both a structured hands-on culinary curriculum, and through partnerships with other nonprofits, wrap around support, soft skill classes, placement and retention services.”
Springboard Kitchens works to assist nonprofits who serve individuals vulnerable of facing hunger by providing them with low-cost meal services, preparing and delivering approximately 1,000 fresh and healthy meals daily, as well as having trainees directly assist in the preparing, production and preparation of all catering services.
Also, through its partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Springboard Kitchens’ food rescue program takes end of shelf life produce and proteins that would otherwise be thrown away and uses it to sustain their feeding program and their culinary workforce training program; in turn teaching their students a wide range of skills, such as stabilization techniques, food safety and sanitation training.
Since its inception in 2009, Springboard Kitchens has helped approximately 227 students gain the skills that they need in order to become successful culinarians out in the workforce. Currently there are 20 students enrolled.

I had a chance to see Springboard Kitchens and their students in action, in the community of Hazelwood, as they provided the meals for the neighborhood’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day event hosted at St. Stephen’s School, in conjunction with several other local organizations. Springboards’ students participated in every level of the process and ultimately served a well-balanced soul food-style meal to several hundred attendees.
Additionally, Springboard helped with the assembly and dispersal of over 100 “winter boxes” that were given away to the attendees. These boxes contained nonperishable food items, household supplies and, in some cases, baby formula for those with small children. What a great way to honor MLK, with a day of service!
Remember, Food is Fun! So make it your own! And as Black History Month is approaching, I’ll be showing you how to take traditional soul food favorites and transform them into delicious healthier versions all month long! Recipes like, “Un-fried chicken,” “not your momma’s greens” and more!
So follow me on twitter @eliseTDC to stay up to date with cooking demonstration dates and locations. And keep those culinary and fitness questions coming!
Have a Food Week!
The D)eliciousness I)n V)arious A)ssortments  CHEF

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