Monthly Archives: August 2021

CCFB’s FRESHstart Kitchen Designated a ‘Restaurant Ready Partner’ of the National Restaurant Assoc.

The Chester County Food Bank, courtesy of its FRESHstart Kitchen culinary workforce development program, has been named a Restaurant Ready Partner of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The designation enables FRESHstart Kitchen students to get certified in additional core competencies to further prepare them for opportunities and sustainable employment in the foodservice industry.

Since 2009, the Chester County Food Bank has been the central hunger relief organization in Chester County addressing food insecurity by mobilizing the community to ensure access to real, healthy food. In 2018, as part of its strategic plan, the organization launched FRESHstart Kitchen to educate and prepare under or unemployed people in the community who show interest in food industry careers.

An acronym for “Focusing Resources on Employment, Self-Sufficiency, and Health,” FRESHstart Kitchen is specifically designed to assist individuals with barriers to employment gain life skills to help address the challenges of entering or reentering the workforce. The FRESHstart Kitchen is a fully certified production kitchen, located within the Food Bank’s headquarters in Exton.

“It’s 12 weeks of culinary training, and during those weeks, it is an opportunity for students to reflect on where they have been, where they are currently, and where they want to be,” said Amy Rossman, the Food Bank’s Workforce Development Manager. Rossman looks for potential students who have a goal of working in the hospitality and foodservice industry and guides them through the FRESHstart Kitchen application and interview process. She is also the facilitator for the self-empowerment and work-readiness segments of the program.

As part of the program, FRESHstart Kitchen staff and students operate a café for a simulated restaurant environment designed to provide students a hands-on learning experience while also showcasing their culinary and service talents. Students will also complete an internship in the food industry, and many of them are offered positions after their internships.

The Restaurant Ready Partner program’s goals align well with what the FRESHstart Kitchen has been doing all along: putting underserved people on a path to employment and independence and establishing the restaurant industry as a suitable place for first jobs, career development, and advancement.

“The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation was looking for community-based partners to be able to facilitate the Restaurant Ready curriculum, which is evidence-based and created by people who work in the restaurant industry,” said Rossman, who initiated the application process. “Their curriculum teaches six competencies found to be the most important for students to be able to become independent and sustainable in the restaurant industry.”

The six competencies include personal responsibility, communication, attitude, learning, customer service, and industry-specific skills such as culinary knowledge, food safety, and order and payment.

“The Restaurant Ready program means we are nationally recognized as a partner,” said Rossman. “The curriculum affords us an opportunity to give an added credential to the students for those six competencies, which is very important to us, and those in the industry will recognize that our students are restaurant-ready.”

An additional requirement for programs to receive the Restaurant Ready designation is for them to offer “wrap-around” services to their students once they graduate, and thus help eliminate any barriers to a successful career in the food industry. That service is something FRESHstart Kitchen is already doing, as it stays connected with students for two years after they graduate and begin working.

“We want to advocate for our students and see them succeed,” said Rossman. “We feel very grateful to be part of the journey that each of the students is on and for them to recognize that we are here to support them on that path.”

Learn more about FRESHstart Kitchen and how to support the Chester County Food Bank.


Contributed by Chris Cooper of Vista.Today

Gardening for Beginners Workshop

A gardening class for everyone!  ¡Una clase de jardinería para todos! (Desplácese debajo de la foto de zanahoria para español)


Gardeners of all (or no prior) experience are welcome. All you need is a desire to get growing and to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor!

Whether you are curious about gardening, want to go beyond a container garden, or have harvested through many seasons – this class provides the foundational skills and the hands-on practice you need to get growing. The two-hour class will offer the basics of how to create a garden from preparing the soil, choosing seeds and seedlings, and managing weeds and pests.

All participants will receive fall seedlings to take home to #GetGrowingChesterCounty.

Gardening for Beginners – English Session
Monday, August 23, 2021
at the Community Garden at Anson B. Nixon Park (405 N. Walnut Rd., Kennett Square)

Register here by August 19 for the English Session
Reach out to Klielle at klielle@chestercountyfoodbank.org with any questions


Los jardineros con toda la experiencia (o sin experiencia previa) son bienvenidos. ¡Todo lo que necesita es el deseo de crecer y disfrutar de las frutas (y verduras) de su trabajo! Ya sea que sienta curiosidad por la jardinería, quiera ir más allá de un jardín en macetas o haya cosechado durante muchas temporadas, esta clase proporciona las habilidades fundamentales y la práctica práctica que necesita para crecer. La clase de dos horas ofrecerá los conceptos básicos de cómo crear un jardín desde la preparación del suelo, la selección de semillas y plántulas y el manejo de malezas y plagas. Todos los participantes recibirán plántulas de otoño para llevar a casa en #GetGrowingChesterCounty.

Jardinería para Principiantes
miércoles 18 de agosto
8:00-10:00 de la mañana

El jardín comunitario en Anson B. Nixon Park (405 N Walnut Rd, Kennett Square)
Regístrese aquí antes del lunes 16 de agosto si planea asistir.
¿Preguntas? Contacta con Ryan: rmccaughan@chestercountyfoodbank.org