This is what The Strive for Change Foundation looks for when deciding to award grants: Job-training programs guided by hard-headed leaders who make practical decisions based on real world facts. With a recent grant of $10,000 from Strive for Change, and generous gifts from other notable funding organizations, The Bread Project enters 2019 ready to meet the challenges that inevitably lie ahead.
The Bread Project was founded in Berkeley in 2000 to help low-income individuals develop skills for employment in commercial baking and the food industry. Since then, nearly 1,900 East Bay residents have completed the Training Program, where they learn the marketable skills of safe food handling, culinary math, and basic baking, and job-readiness skills such as following directions, taking personal responsibility, managing time and conducting themselves as kitchen professionals. Training takes place during a four-week, 120-hour intensive Bakery Bootcamp. Graduates earn a Certificate of Completion, their California Food Handlers Card, job placement assistance, and twelve months of follow-up support.
Bakery Bootcamp offers trainees a life-changing experience and a solid path to the future. LUC CIEL is an exemplary graduate. Luc was born in Vietnam during the Vietnam War and came to the US when he was eleven. At fourteen years old he left an abusive environment and became homeless. Before attending the Bakery Bootcamp, Luc spent time in jail and struggled to get back on his feet. Since graduating in 2017, Luc has thrived. He currently works as a experienced food service professional and regularly returns to The Bread Project to volunteer his time and teach and motivate other trainees.
PHYLINA GRUBBS is an accomplished graduate who completed the program in March 2018. She learned about The Bread Project from her son, who is also a graduate. Phylina had been out of the formal workforce for three years and was eager to learn a new skill. She said, “I saw that anyone could enroll. If you had a criminal background, or were an immigrant, or had a learning disability, you could enroll and be pointed in another direction.” Phylina gained employment two months after graduation. She thanked The Bread Project “for being that instrumental vessel in getting me that job and connecting me to where I need to be.”
The Strive for Change Foundation prides itself on investing in local organizations that make the best use of our benefactors’ gifts. We look for results, and we find them. By supporting organizations like The Bread Project– and people like Luc and Phylina– our donors are helping East Bay families achieve the dignity of financial stability.