Barclays donates $125,000 to support Food Bank’s culinary program

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As part of the graduation celebration of the 49th and 50th classes of The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, Barclays presented a check for $125,000 to help support the Food Bank’s culinary workforce development program.

Funding will support student scholarships to The Culinary School, the Food Bank’s alumni-run food cart and the ManageFirst specialized food training program.

The graduates include: Milagros Martínez Alonso, Nikkila Waters-Black, Romario Brown, Kelly Manning, Nicholas Moore, Alberta Williams Siamah, Fatima Ting and Crystal Tucker.

Students have spent the past 14 weeks developing their skills both in and outside the kitchen. From proper knife handling techniques to ServSafe certification and completing a two-week internship, the students are prepared for entry-level jobs in the food industry. Guest speakers and field trips have rounded out the formal training program.

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Amer Sajed, chairman of the Barclays Bank Delaware Board, provided keynote remarks.

“Barclays is proud to partner with the Food Bank on such a great initiative”, said Amer. “I’m so inspired by these incredible young people and what they’ve been able to accomplish. As they move forward in their careers, they can apply the lessons they have learned through this program and will be able to accomplish anything.”

Graduates of the 49th and 50th culinary classes come from all walks of life and countries. Milagros Martínez Alonso moved to the United States from Puerto Rico in February, Romario Brown is from Jamaica, and Alberta Siamah is from Ghana. All three students are now prepared for careers in Delaware’s food service industry.

“When I came to America from Puerto Rico in February, I came with many dreams,” said Alonso. “This has been the most integral 14 weeks of my life.”

Students’ tuition was funded through multiple sources including corporate scholarships from Barclays, Capital One, Chase and Comenity Bank, the Delaware Department of Labor, and Delaware WONDER (Work Opportunity Networks to Develop Employment Readiness), a federal grant geared to getting people into the workplace and off SNAP benefits. This employment and training program is led by Delaware Health and Social Services Division of Social Services (DHSS), which administers the SNAP Program in Delaware.

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