E-Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 4
Attendance triples this winter  
Breakfast Program Growth Helps Meet Community's Need

"Nobody leaves Eva's hungry,
but hunger is
still a
big problem."

J ose, who eats  
and lunch at  
Eva's Community Kitchen

When Eva's Community Kitchen first began serving a hot breakfast on December 1, it was anticipated that we would see perhaps 50 guests per day. Less than three months later, we are serving triple that number each morning. "The food is good," noted Jose, a regular guest at breakfast and lunch who also volunteers in the kitchen and often helps unloads food from delivery trucks. The morning we spoke with him, French toast topped with cherries and whipped cream, sausages and fresh fruit were on the menu. The program's dramatic growth demonstrates the degree of food insecurity in our community.

The need is clear
The breakfast program at Eva's Village was launched during the coldest months of the year to offer an additional hot meal and warm, safe respite for community members in need. "The need for breakfast grew quickly. We started with 65 guests and now we are averaging 150 guests every morning. Many of the guests have personally thanked me for providing a hot meal and coffee," noted Executive Chef Director Darryl Dela Cruz. Jose explained that the numbers of guests usually increases over the course of a month. "Not as many people show up the first 10 days of the month. It really starts to get crowded towards the end, when everyone's money runs out." he said.
Breakfast Extends Eva's Mission
Breakfast service is a natural extension of Eva's mission: combining a nutritious, hot meal and a warm welcome with an opportunity to learn about services that can help guests recover hope and rebuild their lives.

Each day, volunteers from the Eva's Village Recovery Center join kitchen volunteers to serve coffee, getting to know the guests and offering them information about Eva's services and programs.
Since breakfast service started, 91 unduplicated individuals have been referred to the Recovery Center for services. Both of Eva's meal programs depend on donors' financial support and donated food. We are grateful to our donors and partners who have helped to make this program possible!

"The addition of breakfast is a testament to our care for those we serve, as well as an outpouring of generosity and help from our donors and volunteers." 

Donna Fico, Senior Director of Program and Resource Development at Eva's Village
Volunteer Spotlight
Ernesto Reyes Advises, "Get Involved! Enjoy the Journey!"

"They love me and I love them. I've bonded with them; they're my friends. Everyone knows my
name here."

Ernesto Reyes, (right) long-time Recovery Center volunteer, with CindyMarie Dix, (left) Senior Peer Services Coordinator
Peer-Led Center Relies on Volunteers 
Eva's Village Recovery Center serves as a safe haven in the community for individuals in various stages of recovery. The Center offers supportive services ranging from individual coaching and group meetings, to workshops and social activities, seven days a week. The peer-led Center was the first of its kind in New Jersey and relies entirely on volunteers to lead the services and activities that help those in recovery stay on track.

Ernesto's journey at the Recovery Center began in 2009 when it opened, making him one of their longest-serving volunteers. He was in outpatient care at Eva's Village when he began volunteering there as a janitor. His continued involvement today exemplifies the Recovery Center's mission to foster long term-recovery by restoring physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health.
Though he now has a steady job and his own apartment, Ernesto continues to volunteer and can be found at the Recovery Center most evenings. He helps with events and transportation, has trained as a peer recovery coach, and was invited to join the peer advisory board (which helps guide the Center's activities).

Volunteering has given him a sense of responsibility, personal satisfaction and self-respect, all attributes that make him a valuable employee in his day job. The Center has recognized his contributions with many awards, and has offered him a paid position multiple times, which he always declined.

"I don't want to get paid to do this work. There is no greater reward than feeling grateful to be able to help people,"

Ernesto Reyes, Recovery Center volunteer
Volunteers Find Creative Ways to Give Back
Like many alumni who continue to give back, Ernesto facilitates a workshop. He designed "At the End of the Day" to fill a programming need between 6 pm when regular scheduling ends, and 10 pm when the center closes. Rather than sitting around watching TV in the evening, clients who sign up for this workshop check in weekly to review their day with each other, sharing news, discussing problems, receiving feedback and encouragement, or simply sharing fellowship.

Ernesto has earned the trust of his peers and the staff; he feels a strong sense of community and belonging at the Center. He is proud that he has helped to realize and promote the vision of the Recovery Center as it has grown. His personal goals and advice to others who are thinking about volunteering at the Center reflect its message: "Try not to deviate - Keep connected - Try to be a beacon for others - Get involved - Enjoy the journey!"

For more information about the Recovery Center's programs and services, visit their webpage.
Alumni join professional chefs
To Share Insiders' View of the Culinary Industry
Professional chefs joined staff and alumni to give Culinary School students an insiders' view of the challenges and rewards of working towards a career in the food service industry.
A panel of graduates and industry professionals recently shared insights and personal experiences with the sixth class of The Culinary School at Eva's Village in a discussion entitled "What to Expect in the Food Service Industry." The panel was one of a series of activities designed to foster resiliency and student success. This is a collaboration with the Northeast Resiliency Consortium (NRC) & Passaic County Community College (PCCC). Chefs Amar McCutcheon and Chandora Leach, both Culinary School alumni, joined industry executives on the panel, which included Executive Chef Director, Darryl Dela Cruz of The Culinary School at Eva's Village; Chef James Hornes, PCCC's Director of Food Service; and Montclair State University's Catering Executive Chef Kendria Jackman-Oakley.

Panel Shares Tips for Success
Chefs McCutcheon and Leach shared an insiders' view of the food service industry. They spoke candidly about the differences between cooking in a classroom lab compared to a professional setting, and how they met and overcame personal barriers. Chef Leach spoke of the importance of resiliency and focus. Chef McCutcheon relied on determination and grit to meet workplace challenges. Both alumni acknowledged the support and training they received and the success they have earned as they have worked to overcome obstacles on their journey to employment.

  "Be thankful for the good days but be grateful for the bad days because those are the ones that keep pushing you to move forward."

Chandora Leach, Culinary School  alumna employed at The Market Basket & Bennigan's.

"It's not what you do, it's how you do it. I knew I couldn't quit because I started here with nothing and today I have a whole lot. I have my pride."   

Chef Amar McCutcheon, Culinary School alumnus employed at William Paterson University (Sodexo).

Executive Chef Kendria Jackman-Oakley encouraged students to plan ahead, to look for learning opportunities and to find ways to grow. "You never know who's watching you, who's paying attention, so walk into the kitchen prepared and ready. Find someone who's willing to teach you and take advantage of it," she advised. Chef James Hornes acknowledged that building a career in the food service industry requires hard work. "Whatever you choose to do will be hard. Even if you choose to sit at home and do nothing - that  will be hard too - so, why not do something you love? You determine your attitude," he counseled. Chef Hornes and Chef Jackman-Oakley each offered strategies to help women cope with and overcome obstacles often encountered this male-dominated field.

Partnership Supports Career Growth
The panel is one in a series of resiliency workshops designed to support and prepare The Culinary School students for future personal and professional experiences. Additional workshops offered in partnership with the Northeast Resiliency Consortium have focused on building resiliency: goal setting, stress management, and knowledge essential for student success and career readiness. These activities are designed to complement and support The Culinary School's curriculum by strengthening workplace readiness and student success.

PCCC is working with Chef Dela Cruz to implement a contextualized mathematics course for Culinary School students to better prepare them for both college and the workplace. This pipeline will offer students the skills they need to further their education and advance their careers. "Through this collaborative partnership we're offering individuals in our community opportunities for training that will lead to employment. The greater mission of the NRC at PCCC is not only to foster resiliency in our students, but also to build bridges and pathways, and access to higher education," explained Robin Wanner, PCCC Project Director for the Northeast Resiliency Program. "Graduates of The Culinary School at Eva's Village will have an opportunity to gain college credit on application to PCCC's programs in advanced culinary science and culinary arts, and to other pathways to higher education," she noted.

The Culinary School at Eva's Village provides job training and placement in the food industry through a six-month course focused on building tools and skills for a culinary career. The final module includes a 4-week industry internship with post-internship placement services. An open house will be held on March 10 to recruit for the June 2016 class. Tuition assistance is available. In addition to grant funding, The Culinary School is grateful to the many business and individual donors, and to the numerous volunteers who support the program.

Behind the Seams
Fashion Show

L. Robert Keller Memorial Invitational Golf Tournament
May 23 - Bottagra Restaurant,
               Hawthorne, NJ
Join us for a tented runway show, reminiscent of New York's Fashion Week. Sal Lauretta for Men, The DSM Group, and Bottagra Restaurant host this annual show for 300+ attendees. Festivities also include a lavish cocktail hour, a seated dinner, wine tasting, plus silent and live auctions.

June 27 - Canoe Brook Country
                 Club, Short Hills, NJ
Save the date for this day-long event where 240+ golfers enjoy a relaxing afternoon on two championship-level courses. The day includes a sumptuous lunch buffet and 18 holes of golf, followed by a cocktail hour in the newly renovated clubhouse, a seated awards dinner and silent auction.

For more information about event sponsorship opportunities and reservations
Joey Mazza or call 973-523-6220 x 235.
Eva's Village is a uniquely progressive and comprehensive non-profit social service organization dedicated to fighting homelessness and poverty. We rely on support from donors like you to provide vital services for men, women and children in need.
For more information visit www.evasvillage.org

Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved.
 Eva's Village | 393 Main Street, Paterson, New Jersey 07501 | 973-523-6220
donate@evasvillage.org | www.evasvillage.org