Kelowna has a serious problem with homelessness, an issue that’s consistently addressed in various news outlets around the city. What if there was a unique way to decrease the homeless population in the Okanagan through the skillful art of cooking? Well, there is! Our goal through The Start Fresh Culinary Arts and Education Program is to get people off the streets and into the kitchen by teaching them the skills necessary to enter the culinary workforce. Here are 4 detailed ways our project can help.
1. Gives Those Struggling A Sense Of Purpose
There are plenty of psychological benefits to cooking, and one of them is providing people with a sense of purpose. Whether one whips up a quick and easy spaghetti dinner or they decide to create a gourmet feast, once they’ve finished up and their meal is successful, they’re more likely to feel competent.
Choosing the ingredients and carefully preparing the meal allows them to experience the meaning of responsibility; the process of seeing something through from start to finish can provide the cook with a sense of accomplishment. Cooking will not only teach those struggling a valuable skill, but can also allow them to pass that skill onto others, helping them feel rewarded, fulfilled, and left with a sense of purpose.
2. Cooking Can Help With Mental Health Problems
Did you know cooking can help decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, which is common in people who are homeless? By introducing them to the kitchen, they’ll learn to practice mindfulness and appreciation while enjoying a newfound creative outlet that could contribute to a boost in self-esteem. These are all great ways to help improve symptoms of difficult mental health issues.
3. Our Training Leads To Jobs
The education levels found in our homeless population is typically lower than the general public’s, which makes it more difficult for them to find and secure meaningful work. Our Culinary Arts and Education Program prepares at-risk individuals for the workforce by helping them gain the cooking and farming skills needed to find jobs. Through our various partnerships with farms and restaurants, our mission is to ensure all graduates find culinary work in the Okanagan following their training.
4. Culinary Positions That Come With Housing
To ensure our graduates have a roof over their heads when the day is done, we’re also working to partner up with organizations who provide housing to staff. We need to help our participants every step of the way, so making sure they have shelter is exceptionally important to us.
By supporting Start Fresh, you can help those in need get off the streets and into the workforce. Click here to donate now.