CLEVELAND — One local program is utilizing a food truck and the food service industry to help homeless and formerly incarcerated people get back into the workforce.
Around Cleveland, you may spot a blue food truck with “Metro 45" written on it, and inside you'll find Monica Hussing.
“I’ve worked in the kitchen, I’ve driven trucks for deliveries, and I’m actually getting ready to go on to supervise the food truck,” said Hussing.
When Hussing was released from prison in 2017 after serving an 8-year sentence, she wasn’t sure where she would end up next.
“It was a straightforward transition for me. I had other plans. but I think God had different plans for me,” said Hussing.
She landed in the "Chopping for Change" program, where through a fully accelerated culinary course, she learned how to cook and work in a kitchen.
“We do start with your general education courses, your math, your English and job readiness. They also get their SERV safe manager designation while they're in there, and then a fully functional culinary program,” said Ian Marks, the vice president of workforce development at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry.
“We use that food truck to make sure we can you know raise funds to keep these programs going and also provides a place where students can work,” said Marks.
More than 200 women just like Hussing have already gone through the program.
Marks said the food industry is the easiest to get people back into the workforce and the most comforting.
“Food is just a communal thing. So to bring people together and discuss kind of what's been going on in their life and transfer those skills over to food,” said Marks.
They are not just ensuring job security but also a home.
"These people open their arms wide open to you and we say it all the time, we're a big family,” said Hussing.
Hussing graduated and has been working within the program for years, helping women just like her.
“It's a big inspiration to see them coming out of where I used to be,” said Hussing.
Now that’s all she wants to do.
“My goal was to work in a central kitchen and do what you guys do. That’s where I am and I enjoy it. I go to all the shelters I deliver food to all the shelters, and I love it.
Through the program, they also feed the homeless doing 400,000 meals just last year.
Click here for more information on Metro 45.
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