Okanagan Changemakers Present: Change-up 3

Start Fresh has been chosen as one of the 6 finalists to pitch at ChangeUp 3 on November 2nd at the Kelowna Community Theatre. It is a real honour to be chosen for an event that showcases our community's best in social entrepreneurship.  We are awe-struck by the people we meet in the Okanagan Valley, and believe you will be, too! So please come out and hear the inspiring stories of the local heroes in our community; each finalist will have 5 minutes on stage to fast pitch their social enterprise, and the audience votes on the winner. We definitely hope to you can join us for the event. Purchase your tickets here: http://okanaganchangemakers.com/...

In case you don’t know much about our non-profit program that takes places at the Start Fresh Kitchen, we’re up to a few other things beyond catering and cooking classes. The Start Fresh Project is why we exist, because like many communities in Canada, Kelowna has a serious problem with homelessness It’s an issue that is consistently addressed by media and policymakers alike, and we believe that change is possible. Through education, we offer a unique way to decrease the homeless population in the Okanagan through the skillful art of cooking. 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. Below are 4 detailed ways our project can help. 

Changemaker Kelowna


1. Giving Back 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 capable

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.  Improving Mental Health Issues

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. Training Leads To a Job

The education levels found in our homeless population are typically lower than the general public, 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 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 members. We need to help our participants every step of the way, so making sure they have a place to stay well and balanced is essential not just for employment, but for personal success. 

By supporting Start Fresh, you can help those in need get off the streets and into the workforce. Click here to donate now