The Los Angeles LGBT Center has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation to support the center’s culinary arts program, a training program for homeless LGBTQ youth and low-income seniors, it was announced Wednesday.
Taught at the center’s commercial kitchen in the Anita May Rosenstein Campus, the 300-hour program engages students from the center’s senior services programs to learn basic culinary skills alongside youth ages 18-24 in addition to professional development training for jobs beyond the kitchen.
Participants finish the program by completing a 100-hour internship at local restaurants, catering companies, and other food service businesses, in addition to serving meals at the Pride Pantry food bank.
“When we launched our culinary arts program, no one could have predicted that, one year later, we would be facing all of the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lorri L. Jean, the center’s CEO. “The demand for the center’s services has increased as a result of the pandemic, including a heartbreaking rise in food insecurity in our community.
“Our culinary arts program has been instrumental in helping us to rise to meet this need, both by providing meals for our seniors and youth and by helping establish our Pride Pantry food bank that now distributes food from our locations throughout Los Angeles,” Jean said. “Thanks, in part, to the S. Mark Taper Foundation’s generosity, the culinary arts program can continue to help sustain both the youth and seniors who work as part of the program and those who rely on its meals.”
Since the onset of the global health crisis, culinary students have prepared as many as 450 meals per day to feed the center’s senior clients experiencing food insecurity, the 100-plus homeless youth who visit the Youth Center, and senior and youth residents at multiple center locations.
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