Culinary Training And Life Skills For Philadelphia Adults With Low To No Income

Help us double the students in our free culinary job training program and expand the support we offer enabling graduates to attain a living wage.

Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK), a free culinary training and life skills program, has been transforming the lives of adults with low to no income since 2000. Over 14 weeks, participants intern in the culinary industry, prepare meals for those in need and earn their ServSafe certificate, while receiving critical life skills training. For two years after graduation, staff support graduates to ensure they are on track to secure a living wage and sustainable employment. Currently, PCK serves 80-100 students per year and has an 80 percent job placement rate for graduates. The average wage for graduates two years post-program is $14.24/hour, nearly double Pennsylvania’s minimum wage. With your help, we will double the number of students participating in this life-changing program and expand the training curriculum to provide enhanced education and support.

What is the community need that this idea addresses?

Empowerment, training and stability. In Philadelphia, more than 25 percent of people live at or below the poverty line, and the North Philadelphia neighborhood that is home to PCK is an area of particularly deep poverty; the average family of four in North Philadelphia lives on less than $25,000 a year. Community members who have experienced homelessness, trauma, unemployment or under-employment, or who are returning citizens face significant barriers to employment, including a lack of accessible job training programs. Job training, transitional support and livable-wage jobs are necessary to help break the cycle of poverty for PCK’s students. PCK not only provides employment opportunities, but also a second chance at life.

What is the solution that is currently in place?

Since 2000, the Philabundance Community Kitchen has provided some of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable adults with a strong and stable path to workforce readiness and success. Students are accepted because they face significant barriers to employment, and throughout the course of the program, they receive one-on-one support to help them develop strong life skills and career readiness. Regular, scheduled contact for 24 months after graduation ensures that graduates have continued access to assistance. However, we must currently turn away qualified applicants each year due to lack of capacity. Insufficient equipment, space, and refrigeration restrain kitchen activity and limit the number of meals that can be prepared and the number of students who can be trained.

How will a Key to Community Grant help?

A Key to Community grant award will enable us to double the impact of these transformative job training and support services for PCK students, taking us from a minimum of 80 students each year to a maximum of 200 and providing more in-depth support while quadrupling the number of healthy meals our students and staff can make (from 280,000 per year to 2 million) for food-insecure children, people experiencing homelessness, and others in need of emergency food assistance. With your support, we will connect the communities surrounding PCK to this accessible and industry-recognized culinary training, build stable communities and empower our graduates to reach their financial goals and achieve long-term success for themselves and their families.

Idea Submitted by:


Philabundance is the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization. For 35 years, it has focused on providing emergency food to those in need. In 2018, it relieved hunger by distributing more than 26 million pounds of food through a network of 350 member agencies. In 2019, it began partnerships with critical services providers, offering food coupled with other services to end hunger for good. Philabundance serves more than 90,000 people each week, 30 percent of whom are children, 16 percent of whom are seniors, and other clients include college students, single parents and the working class. Its Philabundance Community Kitchen program has graduated more than 850 people in its 20-year existence, providing culinary skills – and second chances – to adults with low- to no-income. Learn more at