MILFORD, Del. (WBOC) - The Food Bank of Delaware had the grand opening Friday for a big expansion at its Milford location.
The expansion doubles the size of the Food Bank's facility there. The project cost $2.6 million.
The Food Bank says it took four years to raise the money and construct the building in Milford. The building includes space for its new culinary training school.
The Food Bank has had a school at its Newark facility for a while. This September the first group of students in Milford started their training.
The program provides training to unemployed and underemployed people for positions in the food services industry.
Gregory Jones is one of about a dozen current students. He came into the classes with some experience already.
"I was in Philadelphia for the past two years. I was in a working program for homeless men called 'Ready, Willing and Able.'"
Jones says he came back to Delaware continuing to try to get his life together. And he's learned a lot in the program's first two weeks.
"For 12 weeks they're going to be learning everything there is know about the culinary field," said Pat Beebe, President and CEO of the Food Bank of Delaware. "They're learning basic knife skills, recipes, different temperatures, sauces."
Beebe says the 14-week program also includes two weeks of an internship with a food services company.
She says training can lead to a job like line cook. According to the state department of labor, the average entry-level cafeteria cook only makes $23,000 a year. The training program costs $5,700.
Beebe says the Food Bank helps people find state and private assistance.
"We've graduated over 200 students at the facility in Newark," she said. "Only two of them paid for it themselves. They all had scholarships from one of those other organizations."
"I have a full ride. It's a blessing, because I was concerned about the finances," said Jones. "I don't think I would have been able to get into this program to be honest with you. I don't think it would have happened."
Jones is the first of his class to get a culinary job. He'll work in the kitchen at Delaware State University. He says the last time he had a full-time job was four years ago.
"I'm excited," he said. "Now I don't have to keep looking back. I can keep moving ahead."
For more information or to apply, contact Brenda Palomo at (302) 424-3301, ext. 107 or email@example.com.
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