"I had a really rough life," Leon Walker told me outside L.A. Kitchen recently. But after years in and out of prison for credit card fraud and identity theft and struggling with substance abuse, Leon is proud to say that he's been sober for a year and two weeks, and he's excited about his future. "I got to the point that I wanted better. L.A. Kitchen helped me turn my life around."
L.A. Kitchen, a non-profit based out of the same facility as Semolina, is an incredible organization with a multi-tiered mission that neither food nor people should ever go to waste. That's why we're trying to raise $25,000 to help support them, but we need your help! Donate now, and an anonymous donor will match every dollar up to $25,00. Want to learn more first? Read on...
L.A. Kitchen serves the community in three ways:
1) They take food that might oridnarily go to waste--from area farms like Alma Backyard Farms and Capay Organic/Farm Fresh to You, and local businesses like Semolina, Juicero and Belcampo--and turn it into delicious, scratch-cooked healthy meals for organizations like Health Right 360, Housing Works, Homeless Health Care, Las Familias del Pueblo, the Los Angeles Ronlad McDonald House and more through their #ImpactLA program.
2) They offer men and women returning home from prison, like Leon, as well as foster youth aging out of the system, culinary job training as well as life skills support through #EmpowerLA. Many of that program's graduates go on to work in our city's restaurants, at hospitals, or for #StrongFood.
3) #StrongFood is L.A. Kitchen's social enterprise, which prepares healthy, scratch-cooked meals for L.A.'s seniors, children in after school programs and more.
Leon graduated from L.A. Kitchen's #EmpowerLA program six months ago, and after doing an internship with Strong Food, he was offered a full time job. He's still finishing up probation, living with his mom and sister out in Palmdale, a relationship that he says is finally good. He recently bought a truck and is looking at all he can continue to learn and how he can grow.
Every dollar we raise has the potential to make a difference--it keeps food out of landfills, helps keep L.A.'s elderly from going hungry, and it provides second chances to those who are ready to seize the opportunity. Join me in making a difference: Donate $43.74 (the equivalent of an average family of four's food waste) now at: Crowdrise.com/endfoodwaste and share this with your friends, family and colleagues. Together we can help L.A. Kitchen ensure that neither food nor people should ever go to waste.