Food at core of Lincoln Park Community Center's mission
Food is at the core of the Lincoln Park Community Center's mission in more ways than one.
The obvious way is the center's food pantry, which director Joyce Davis said is in more demand than ever.
“We don't have an emergency food pantry, but I've gotten so many calls that we've started one,” Davis said.
When a family calls, Davis will invite them to the center and give them what she can.
She said she is seeing a lot of families suffering.
“Things like the cost of gasoline and the water and sewer bill are a really hard thing for a lot of our families,” she said.
The center's use of food also serves the community in less-expected ways.
Learning to cook
Volunteerism is a big part of daily life at the Lincoln Park Community Center.
Some of the center's volunteers are young men who have gotten into trouble and are working their way back into the community through programs such as Pittsburgh-based Abraxas Youth & Family Services.
Davis is conducting a cooking class in the center's kitchen, using food to help families the center serves as well as help young men develop a skill.
“We're teaching them to cook,” Davis said. “We want to teach them the skills that they can use for employment.
“For a lot of teens, their first job is in the food-service industry, McDonald's or someplace like that.”
The first lesson was a stuffed baked potato, which was then served to families who have signed up for the food pantry.
“They made a beautiful presentation and surprised themselves,” Davis said.
As the classes progress, Davis, who teaches alongside an employee from Abraxas or the other groups which send volunteers, said she would like to teach teens how to provide table service, clean tables and perform other wait-staff duties.
A family business
Davis is also hoping to use the center's resources to give community members “a chance to realize their dreams and bring them to fruition.”
One example is S&T Chocolates, a company formed two years ago by Davis' sister, Theresa Flowers-Germany and her husband Garl. . After starting their business at home, they are now going full-scale in the Lincoln Park Community Center kitchen.
Flowers-Germany also has a “staff”/class of a dozen children that help her make chocolate bars, chocolate-covered strawberries and pretzels, customized chocolate treats for birthday parties and more.
“I like teaching kids to be entrepreneurs,” Flowers-Germany said.
S&T Chocolates — named for Theresa and Garl's daughters, Shaylynn and Theresa — is a fully-licensed business, and the kids who help in the kitchen take their wares to Giant Eagle on Verona Road. Flowers-Germany already has S&T merchandise available in smaller stores throughout Penn Hills, and is hoping to interest larger businesses in her product line.
Davis said S&T has been mutually beneficial.
“These young people can develop a work ethic at a very young age,” she said. “If we're going to help them reach their full potential, we have to reach them when they're young.”
In turn, the center helps S&T with public relations and with their business plan, with the expectation that the help will be paid forward in some way.
“We give you a hand up, and then in turn, you extend that hand to someone else,” Davis said.
Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.