New dining establishment will help feed, employ Toledo's needy

New dining establishment will help feed, employ Toledo's needy

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - There's a lot of noise right now at Cherry Street Mission's Life Revitalization Center.

A massive renovation project is filling the old Macomber High School building with the sound of saws and hammers.

By June, a new state-of-the-art kitchen and dining facility will bring one and a half million meals to the Toledo-community every year.

The dining area will be able to seat up to 300 people at a time.

Cherry Street's CEO Dan Rogers says everyone is invited to come pay for a meal. But those in need will not be paying with money, but with time.

Rogers says the vision is to end hunger through employment.

The project is a joint kitchen, with classes and culinary training from Owens Community College. Homeless guests going through Cherry Street's program, and Owens students can be trained here.

They will use cards that function like debit cards, but keep track of things like going to class.

It's the first of its kind in the Toledo-region.

"Not only will we have access to all the students, all the guests can be in a culinary school," said Rogers, "but also the staff we hire can be in the school at the same time they're serving."

The kitchen will also be used by Connecting Kids with Meals, formerly known as Feed Lucas County Children.
"It's far from a soup kitchen scenario," said Wendi Huntley, interim CEO of Connecting Kids to Meals. "We're definitely conserving community resources to allow two non-profits to work together in one space to provide meals, healthy meals, to adults and children in our community."

Rogers says at a restaurant, no one is suspicious of the person at the next table. And that's his vision.

"It's really community, which is frankly what we're all after.," Roger said. "But you need a project this broad, and this vertically deep in order to kind of push those labels down."

Rogers says it's a place where businessmen and women can sit down alongside families in need in a state-of-the-art facility
with beautiful views of the downtown Toledo skyline.

"So what I like to tell people when you come and you eat here, you're sitting beside your own hope for a better community," said Rogers.

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