FULL CIRCLE KITCHEN GRAND OPENING
Food For Thought Takes Next Step in Fighting Cycle of Poverty and Hunger
The Grand Opening of Food For Thought Outreach’s Full Circle Kitchen is another step forward in the organization’s effort to end the cycle of poverty for the students they serve. The local nonprofit started with just 6 students in the Fall of 2010. With the growing demand in the community, Food For Thought estimates that they will expand to serve over 2,500 students in 27 schools in Okaloosa and Walton by the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Just in February, the organization took on 2 more schools in Okaloosa County.
The purpose of the Full Circle Kitchen is to provide high school students receiving Food For Thought services an opportunity to accept the support outside of their schools and away from the pressure of their peers. Students will attend classes lead by local cooks & chefs in a progressive model to take them from basic skills to cooking for themselves and their siblings. With this style of experiential learning, the students will be able to take home what they prepare in class to eat along with ingredients to practice their skills. This will help to replace the food students receive via the in-school programs.
“It could make the difference for a lot of kids. Kids who might drop out and now they have the chance to make a difference in the community,” says Jim Pierce, Food For Thought Outreach supporter and Full Circle Kitchen Sponsor. Jim and Tammy Pierce, along with Howard Hospitality, and O.B. Laurent Construction sponsored the Full Circle Kitchen project.
While the kitchen will have all the high-level components a chef would expect, the Full Circle Kitchen will also have the materials that students would have in their real lives, items like a microwave, toaster oven, and a universal pan. Instructors will be able to first meet students where they are in life and empower them to cook at home regardless of their living conditions.
“By providing life skills, education, and potential job placement we will have seen these children from Kindergarten through graduation and ensured they have the skills to thrive and making a lasting impact on our community,” says Tiffanie Nelson, Founder & Executive Director of Food For Thought Outreach. “Our end goal is to advance their learning and skills as a path to job placement as restaurant jobs are in demand in our resort community. Even further down the line we hope to take the more engaged and talented students down a path for a scholarship to help them attend culinary school.”
In an effort to sustain the program, the Full Circle Kitchen will offer similar classes for students who are in a position to offer a donation for their class and their donation will support a class for a student in our program. This “one-for-one” model will reduce the budget impact of this new program and the demands on the organization. As Food For Thought’s Garden Initiatives mature, they look to incorporate the food grown in the gardens into this project as well.
“We have several schools on board that can provide their own transportation and we will open classes in the fall with our two highest risk schools coming in first. This summer we will host a series of classes to help students and parents prepare for back to school with healthy breakfast & meal prep classes for students of all ages,” says Nelson.
Additionally, Food For Thought will host fundraising dinners in this special location to raise program dollars and awareness. Their first private dinner in the new space sold for $10,000 as an auction lot in their annual Art of Giving event held every September.
August 23, 2016
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
By: Jessica Roberts
FOOD FOR THOUGHT BEGINS CONSTRUCTION ON “FULL CIRCLE KITCHEN’
O.B. Laurent Construction Helps Local Nonprofit Bring Dream into Reality
Food For Thought Outreach has officially begun construction on their newest project, Full Circle Kitchen. As part of the long-term mission to end child hunger, the kitchen will help provide classes, host fundraiser dinners, and more in the years to come. The kitchen is being built within Food For Thought’s current Santa Rosa Beach Pantry as part of the organization’s growth into the community.
Food For Thought Outreach is moving into its sixth year serving Okaloosa and Walton Counties by providing weekly backpacks filled with healthy, easy to prepare food items to students receiving free or reduced lunch during the school year. Food For Thought estimates that the organization will serve 1,500 students across 20 schools during the 2016-2017 school year.
“This is our next step in fighting food insecurity in our community,” says Tiffanie Nelson, Food For Thought Founder & Executive Director. “We want to remove the barriers between acquiring and preparing healthy, nutritious food.”
Hilary Farnum, Food For Thought Board of Directors Member and Owner of Beachy Beach Real Estate, adds, “By meeting their basic need of food and combining that with teaching them a life skill, it empowers these children more than anyone could ever imagine. I think it's so amazing to think about the whole cycle - a business owner who currently supports Food For Thought might one day in the future employ these same children and break the cycle of poverty.”
Through the generosity of several community partners, including Howard Hospitality, The Pierce Family, and O.B. Laurent Construction, the original construction is fully funded! Projected to be completed in February 2017, classes will begin soon after. As part of the series of community classes, Full Circle Kitchen will provide opportunities for local students to come to the Santa Rosa Beach location to learn how to prepare meals, and as the classes progress provide the skills necessary to start a food service career.
“We at O.B. Laurent Construction are proud to be a partner in this project with Food For Thought. Giving back to our community is an integral part of our company’s mission. Seeing your contributions working to serve your own community is exceedingly more rewarding.,” says Warren Laurent, Director of Operations at O.B. Laurent Construction, Inc.
About Food For Thought Outreach
Food For Thought is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Santa Rosa Beach, FL that provides backpacks filled with healthy, easy to prepare food for students who are dependent on free or reduced school meals. Our goal is to support a child’s development and educational experience by bridging the gap between school meals during weekends and holiday breaks. Food For Thought has been working to fight child hunger since 2010, and currently serves 20 schools in Walton and Okaloosa Counties, providing backpacks for 1,500 students each week. For more information, such as donation locations, pantry items needed, and opportunities to volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About O.B. Laurent Construction, Inc.
A distinguished leader in custom home building, O.B. Laurent Construction, Inc., is recognized for their architectural detail, design, and craftsmanship of the highest quality and standard. The family owned and operated company has been building in the South Walton area of the Florida panhandle since 1991. Their integrity has allowed them to develop long standing relationships with their clients. Featured in Southern Living, Coastal Living, Birmingham Home & Garden, VIE, and Design Bureau Magazine.