Fresh Start Foods West Philadelphia

Posted by Fresh Start Foods on December 15, 2014

New program to offer healthy food in schools

People’s Emergency Center (PEC), Fresh Start Foods and Drexel University have announced they are joining forces to launch a multi-purpose food service catering initiative that will bring healthier eating options and expanded economic opportunity to West Philadelphia.

This new venture, Fresh Start Foods West Philadelphia, will provide fresh and healthy prepared meals for local schools while offering culinary apprenticeship jobs that provide living wages with benefits to out-of-work young adults. The initiative has received more than $700,000 in federal and state grants, so far receiving financial support from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy Food Financing Initiative as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

The project seeks to increase access to fresh, affordable food for community residents while offering paid food service apprenticeship opportunities. Through this program, young adults who may have previously had limited access to education and minimal job experience will build meaningful skills, receive professional certifications and have the chance to begin a successful food service career.

Recognizing schools as a pathway for community-wide change, as well as the relationship between proper nutrition and educational outcomes, this food service program will provide nutritious meals based on creative recipes that introduce more fruits, vegetables and alternative sources of protein into popular food items that kids actually want to eat.

Drexel University’s Food Lab will contribute its research and development expertise to collaborate with Fresh Start Foods for recipe innovation and taste testing.
Once fully operational, Fresh Start Foods West Philadelphia will have the capacity to produce more than 2,000 healthy meals each day to neighborhood school children.

Additionally, it will offer healthy meals to the community at large through the development of a retail store scheduled to open in fall 2015 in West Philadelphia’s main commercial corridor at 3945 Lancaster Avenue.

Apprentices will also have the opportunity to earn professional certifications, including ServSafe® Food Safety Manager, food handler, food production manager and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) customer service credentials. The first training cohort will begin in March 2015.

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