Community Servings Launches Step Forward

On May 29, 2009, Community Servings launched a partnership with the Massachusetts Parole Board and Bunker Hill Community College to help recently incarcerated women and men successfully reenter their communities.

One of the first programs of its type in the nation, Step Forward offers ex-offenders the opportunity to gain valuable food service skills and experience while providing Community Servings with an additional source of volunteers to help prepare and package the 377,000 meals delivered to our clients each year.  Each week, up to 10 Kitchen Interns will volunteer in Community Servings' Jamaica Plain facility. Interns are required to volunteer for a total of 30 hours after which they will qualify for vouchers to take courses at Bunker Hill Community College. Some Kitchen Interns will also be admitted to our 12-week food service job training program, which will lead to full-time employment in the food industry.

In addition to acquiring job skills, Kitchen Interns will learn the importance of teamwork, regular attendance and punctuality. With this additional source of volunteers, Community Servings will be able to operate more efficiently to care for our sick clients. 

Staff members of Community Servings, the Massachusetts Parole Board
and Bunker Hill Community College celebrate the launch of Step Forward on May 29, 2009.

Community Servings' staff member Milford Jenkins developed the name of the program and the job title Kitchen Intern.  He recently explained,  "When you're just coming out of the system, being called an 'ex-offender' or a 'parolee' keeps you in the past.  Instead, we're giving folks an opportunity to Step Forward.  By giving everyone the job title Kitchen Intern, participants will take initiative and be more productive because they feel respected."

David B. Waters, Community Servings' CEO, is excited about Step Forward because "... it formalizes a practice we've always followed. Many of our staff come from challenging backgrounds. For them, Community Servings has been a second chance. Now, Step Forward's Kitchen Interns have mentors in these members of Community Servings' family who've turned their lives around and take pride in knowing that their hard work is helping our sick clients."