It was an emotional day for students, friends and family as the inaugural cohort of four students graduated from Feeding America Southwest Virginia’s (FASWVA) Culinary Arts Training program. The Community Solutions Center sponsored by Food Lion Feeds was built to provide space for skills-based training classes that set individuals up for success.
Students were recognized with certificates of completion and high praise from their instructor, FASWVA Director of Culinary Arts, Marti Burbridge.
Burbridge lauded the students for their efforts and noted how far they’d come from the start of the course. The students’ hard work and persistence was also recognized by ceremony speakers Rick Morrison, FASWVA Chief Impact Officer, Pamela Irvine, FASWVA CEO, and Rob Ward, Food Lion Operations Director for the Roanoke Region. In his comments, Ward said that the center is “another example of Food Lion making a difference in the communities we serve but also helping to change lives.”
The students had the opportunity to offer reflections of their own, each speaking emotionally to an audience of family and friends about their personal growth and how much they had enjoyed working with their classmates.
Following the graduation ceremony, guests were treated to a reception featuring hors d’oeuvres prepared by the graduates.
The 12-week culinary training course included topics such as knife skills, food safety, nutrition and recipe creation. They students also gained the skills necessary to obtain the ServSafe Manager certification, a nationally recognized credential in food safety, as well as soft skills and tips for future employment.
As part of their hands-on training, the students prepared fresh meals for FASWVA’s summer and after-school feeding programs. The group helped prepare more than 19,000 meals that went out to the food bank’s 2018 summer feeding programs.
This is just the beginning of transforming lives. The next class begins on October. 22.