The executive director of the Patachou Foundation says the organization’s new kitchen headquarters in Indianapolis will allow it to prepare a larger number of meals for children who live in local food deserts, with room for growth. The 4,000-square-foot location includes a teaching kitchen, volunteer training space and a foundation-run coffee shop. Matt Feltrop says since the kitchen opened last fall, the foundation has increased production by 10%.
In an interview with Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta, Feltrop said the headquarters allows the foundation to fight childhood hunger in Indianapolis.
“Unfortunately, one in five kids in our city is facing daily food insecurity, which means they don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said Feltrop. “So we have this great opportunity to serve an after school meal that’s been scratch made and delivered by volunteers and served to students to create a really healthy atmosphere around the dinner table. And at the same time, we have a hands-on education program that we do with our students to teach them about new ingredients and to give them skills to make healthy snacks for themselves.”
The foundation says the new headquarters is capable of serving up to 10,000 meals per week, about five times more than it currently serves. Feltrop says in order to meet that goal, the foundation needs volunteers and resources, including donations.
Feltrop says the coffee shop, called Foundation Coffee Co., creates a revenue stream for the foundation but also allows people to support the mission of the foundation by buying a cup of coffee. He adds the shop will eventually be used for the foundation’s workforce development program as well.
Feltrop says the menu at the kitchen has a “whole food” focus that is kid friendly as well.
“We include a serving of fruit, vegetable, protein and make sure that they get some whole grains as well. That meal production happens at this kitchen and during the summer, we’ll be launching this food fellowship, which will invite some high school students to come in and participate in the meal creation. They’ll also work in that coffee shop and on an urban farm. Those students are going to have the opportunity to also get some soft skills around their own career desires and we’ll be working with them to pursue a dream, whether it’s in the culinary field or another industry.”
The fellowship program will be piloted this summer and Feltrop says the participants will leave the program with a ServSafe certification, an industry-recognized certification for them to get a living-wage job.