Over the last 10 years, Johnson & Wales University (J&W), through its Feinstein Community Service Center, has strategically invested educational, volunteer, monetary, and programmatic resources to assist Providence area nonprofits in caring for those in need. But perhaps even more significantly, J&W is in the business of training its career-focused students about the importance of community involvement – thousands of students have used their career skills to assist local nonprofits, as part of their academic coursework, and countless students have experienced community needs firsthand for the first time through the Feinstein Center’s programs.
Amos House runs a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, and social service and job training programs for those who need assistance to help get back on their feet. The organization has witnessed a great demand for services, particularly from women and children, and benefits from the continuing partnership of J&W and the Feinstein Center in addressing the growing needs of the community. The Feinstein Center’s support for the Amos House is multifaceted; they have displayed a long-term commitment to developing and implementing creative, hands-on solutions to pressing community needs.
Four days a week, J&W culinary and hospitality students work in the Amos House kitchen as part of their Internship experience. Under the direction of a graduate student or staff from the Feinstein Center, the students learn about hunger and homelessness locally and nationally, prepare and serve meals for the soup kitchen, and interact with low-income guests.
On a basic level, approximately 2,500 meals per week are prepared through the partnership with J&W and Amos House. However, the scope of the presence of J&W volunteers extends far beyond the food that is cooked and served. Amos House guests learn to relate to college students, and may even begin to think of college as an option for themselves. The Amos House chef, for instance, is an “alum” of Amos House’s programs and also successfully completed a Culinary Arts degree at J&W.
The guests love the students and look forward to the meals they prepare with great eagerness. The J&W students learn to relate to the guests as peers and valuable people – many recognize the guests on the city streets after they volunteer and engage them in conversation. They also take what they learn about hunger and food redistribution into the foodservice industry and become leaders in getting their employers involved in food recovery, which will have a tremendous effect on hunger relief in the long-term.
The Feinstein Center has also given countless hours of staff and volunteer time to the Amos House including free consulting, volunteer training, in-kind donations, assistance with special projects and support in advocacy efforts.
For more information on the Feinstein Community Service Center at Johnson & Wales University, click here