Giving Guide 2023: Community Kitchen Pittsburgh

Community Kitchen Pittsburgh (CKP) is a culinary school unlike most. CKP recruits students who are overcoming a variety of barriers and struggling to find a job. Their students come from all walks of life—reentrants, recovery, survivors—looking for a second chance. They give them one by preparing them for careers in culinary and associated fields. Students receive stipends while enrolled at CKP, earn transferable credits to CCAC, can take advantage of paid apprenticeships, and graduate into jobs in culinary, baking, and inventory management.

The program is successful because the curriculum is grounded in an operational commercial kitchen. Food services are both the operational underpinning for the agency, and the foundation for our training. And hunger relief efforts are at the heart of our food services. Since 2013, CKP students and chefs have prepared and served over 4 million meals to low-income, food-insecure adults and children throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. Their students are giving back every day—even while they are overcoming their own personal challenges. 

With your help, CKP opens doors for people seeking second chances and opportunities. These are some of their stories.

JP had once been a truck driver and was also father to a teenage daughter and had a wife. Between the stress of his job and the hours, he developed a problem with alcohol and substance abuse. These issues led to a jail sentence. When JP came to CKP his life was in total disarray. He had lost his job, his license was suspended, and his family was homeless. CKP connected JP with NA and AA so that he had support to specifically deal with his alcohol and substance abuse problems. At CKP, JP also attended life skills classes and cognitive behavioral therapy, which helped him repair some of the damage he had caused his family. After graduation CKP helped him secure a position at a fine dining restaurant. They kept close ties with JP and within a year of graduating, he had paid off his fines so that his CDL license could be reinstated, he was back working in logistics, and was in the process of purchasing a home for his family. 

SW had fled an abusive relationship and was living in a motel with her two young children when she enrolled at CKP. CKP helped SW and her children secure a safe place to live, and helped her get replacement ID so she could work (her abuser had hidden their identification documents). Community Kitchen also sponsored a clothing and houseware drive to help her and the kids get situated in their new home. After completing the program, they helped SW secure a stable job with a good employer–one that allowed her to be home for her children after school.

Your gift to Community Kitchen Pittsburgh will go to work immediately to ensure all their students have a path forward to stability and success. Please make your gift at ckpgh.org/donate today or contact 412.206.2926.

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Story and Photography by Community Kitchen Pittsburgh

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