Catering company offers formerly incarcerated New Yorkers cooking jobs to help feed people in need

A Brooklyn-based catering company is helping New Yorkers in need get back on their feet, offering them jobs cooking and preparing meals for the homeless.

News 12 Staff

Jul 31, 2020, 11:13 AM

Updated 1,390 days ago

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A Brooklyn-based catering company is helping New Yorkers in need get back on their feet, offering them jobs cooking and preparing meals for the homeless.
More than 5,000 meals a day are prepared and delivered to people in need around the city by Project Renewal's City Beet Kitchens.
It's a catering company that employs formerly homeless and incarcerated New Yorkers, like sous chef Jamel Woods, who's been with the organization for the past five years
"They gave me my second shot, so this is why I'm still here now,” says Woods.
Woods says he struggled to find work after serving jail time, until he had the chance to take part in the organization's culinary arts training program. An opportunity that he says changed his life.
"I'm still here. It kept me out of jail. It kept me alive. I used to think totally different. My mind was somewhere else until I came here, and I learned a lot of things,” says Woods.
Now he's one of dozens of others who are using the skills they learned in the program to cook meals and give back to thousands of homeless people.
"We prepare meals and deliver them seven days a week, three meals a day. The idea to give back and to be able to be part of the creation of this program is more than fulfilling,” says Barbara Hughes, executive director of City Beet Kitchens.
Hughes says more than 100 people go through the training program yearly, but because of the pandemic training had to stop.
Now she says the organization is planning on how to bring the program back safely, in hopes of continuing their efforts to give back.
"We don't know what the landscape's going to be as we move forward and we've been having long discussions and brainstorming about how to re-invent how we train,” says Hughes.


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