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The Ottawa Mission’s Food Services Training Program (FSTP) held a graduation event on December 19th in the dining room. It was a celebration of hard work, fortitude, and the determination by graduates to build lives filled with opportunity.

A class of 12 individuals completed the FSTP’s rigorous 5-month program and are ready for work in the food services sector.

In fact, they have all found jobs! Pride radiated from the faces of everyone who received their certificate from Chef Ric.

The occasion was also marked by a big announcement about the FSTP’s upcoming expansion.

Sessions typically receive dozens of applications for 14 spots, so Chef Ric recognizes that “obviously there is a need to expand the program, and when we do we are hoping to train 75 students over the course of a year.”

The FSTP has offered fall and winter sessions, but that is expected to grow by an additional one, maybe two sessions per year once things are rolling.

This puts a new level of demand on the existing physical resources, so “we’re looking for an off-site kitchen where we would house the students and do all of the catering that is part of the program,” say Chef. “The kitchen here at The Mission already serves 1,450 meals a day to guests, plus the catering service plus 28 students, so the kitchen is just bursting at the seams.”

Chef Ric is confident that the team of supporters searching for the right location close by will have good news very soon.

Hyacinth is a graduate with big hopes for the future.

“Cooking has always been my passion,” she shares, “and it has always been my dream. I feel like one day I will look back on this graduation as the day when I started, and I am so proud!”

Hyacinth was offered a job in her first interview because of the wide variety of food skills she learned in the FSTP. “I’m working long hours, but it’s my passion and I know I’ll be on top.”

Your generosity helps all the graduates feel like they are on top of the world.

By the time Easter arrives, your support will be helping make the expansion of this program possible for many more individuals seeking a life-changing experience.