Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Freestore's Cincinnati COOKS! facility underway

Construction of Freestore Foodbank's Cincinnati COOKS! facility is underway at the corner of Central Parkway and 12th Street in Cincinnati's West End.

Named the Anderson Center after property donors Jeff and Darlene Anderson, the 16,000-square-foot facility will hold 25 to 30 offices, a boardroom, and a fully-functional kitchen – named the Rosenthal Community Kitchen for donors Dick and Lois Rosenthal.

The new 16,000-square-foot building, designed by bdhp architecture, will allow the job training program to expand and the warehouse space to operate more efficiently.

"At the most basic level, our lease with CPS for COOKS!' current space [in the former Queen City Vocational building across from the Taft High School site] will end next spring," says Brian MacConnell, vice president of communications and strategic planning for Freestore Foodbank.

Many of the program's low-income participants face significant barriers to employment, and, for Freestore, the 10-week program gives them a way to connect with people, begin a discussion, and find out what other services and support those individuals might need.

"Cincinnati COOKS! is a very successful way we use food to make connections with clients to bring hope and stability and self-reliance to their lives," MacConnell says.

Food prepared by Cincinnati COOKS! goes to 12 Kids Cafe sites throughout the City.

Last year, Kids Cafe served 85,000 meals for kids who might not otherwise get a meal after school; Cincinnati COOKS! recently served its 500,000th meal.

Over 500 people have been graduated from Cincinnati COOKS! since 2001, and 70 percent of graduates have found employment in the food service industry.

Image credits: bhdp architecture

Previous reading on BC:
HCB rejects Freestore demolition plan (2/19/08)
Freestore applies for more demo permits (12/26/07)