When people have troubled pasts or complicated circumstances, it can feel impossible to find stability or build a career. Whether they’re transitioning from incarceration, foster care, or homelessness, escaping domestic violence, or struggling with mental health or substance use, society has a tendency to overlook them. So they feel stuck – unable to reach a better future.
Kitchens for Good believes that all food has power and that all people have potential. We equip individuals with culinary and hospitality training, as well as the life skills they need to launch meaningful careers so they can move forward in life and make a positive impact on their communities. Not only do apprentices gain valuable training, they contribute to bettering their community by fighting food waste and hunger. Apprentices prepare thousands of healthy meals for hungry San Diegans, using surplus and cosmetically imperfect produce from wholesalers and farmers.
Kitchens for Good uses food to transform lives and nourish communities by providing people with the skills and support to launch meaningful careers.
Kitchens for Good (KFG) was founded in 2014 with the belief that all food has power and that all people have potential. Founder Chuck Samuelson, and Co-Founder Aviva Paley, saw a dilemma of an enormous amount of food waste while one in seven San Diegans went hungry. As they tried to bridge this gap, they realized that merely rescuing food to provide meals wasn’t going to solve the crisis of hunger. Those who suffer from hunger and food insecurity need a means to reach economic self-sufficiency through jobs that pay a sustainable wage. The answer was a culinary apprenticeship program that would provide workforce training to individuals hardest hit by unemployment and food insecurity — the formerly incarcerated, homeless and foster youth. Culinary apprentices practice their skills as they prepare thousands of meals for hungry San Diegans.
In summer 2015, KFG launched operations at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in Southeast San Diego. At the Jacobs Center, KFG operates its award-winning catering enterprise, and its culinary job training program. In 2019, KFG expanded its reach to North County San Diego, by operating the kitchen and restaurant operations at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista.
In just four years, KFG has become one of San Diego’s most innovative and successful examples of an organization focused on developing a new solution to hunger and poverty. Since launching, Kitchens for Good has:
- Trained 327 individuals for jobs in the culinary industry, graduating 249 individuals (75% graduation rate);
- Achieved an 86% employment rate for culinary graduates at jobs with an average starting wage of $13.25 per hour;
- Rescued 137,304 pounds of surplus food and upcycled this into 276,267 nutritious meals for the homeless, at-risk youth and seniors; and
- Developed a strong social enterprise catering operation that has generated $4.9 million in earned income and provided over 50% of the organization’s budget.
Learn More About Our Programs
Training people to thrive in careers in the culinary and hospitality industry
Reducing Food Waste
Utilizing Surplus and Cosmetically Imperfect Food
Combating Hunger with Nutritious Meals for Families in Need
Providing on the job training for apprentices and generating revenue to support programs