FoodWorks graduation full of emotion, opportunity

Tears covered Mark Brown's face as he sat patiently at the Maryland Food Bank Wednesday.

Brown was one of six participants in the food bank's 12-week culinary training program, FoodWorks.

The program, in its eighth year, takes in those previously faced with life challenges. Participants are referred to the program through organizations and resources like the Center for Urban Families, Department of Social Services, Marian House and Our Daily Bread.

The students are taught a wide range of culinary techniques and become certified in ServSafe Food Sanitation Management. While they are learning, the food they prepare is shared with those in need.

Program organizers say this year, more than 260,000 FoodWorks meals were distributed via a network of 600 soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters across the state.

"Each and every one of these students have exactly the skills that they need to get a very solid job out in the community," says Maryland Food Bank president Deborah Flateman. "That's a great accomplishment.

2012 FoodWorks graduates

Mark Brown

Niya Martin

Lazina Simmons

Timika Smith

Elaine Williams

Lawrence Wilson

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