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Second Chances and Culinary Dreams at the L.A. Kitchen

In 1989, activist and nonprofit leader Robert Egger founded the D.C. Central Kitchen, an organization that has prepared approximately 27 million meals for the needy. Now, he's brought his philosophy and inspiration from the D.C. Central Kitchen to Los Angeles to help start a fresh new social enterprise movement.

The L.A. Kitchen is all about giving second chances and incorporating an effective business model that benefits the larger community. Earlier this year, it launched a program that creates opportunities for marginalized men and women who have come out of foster care and prisons.

A new kind of charity, it prides itself as a dynamic social enterprise that not only puts jobs back into the economy, but also empowers the community through collaborative efforts, culinary training, and job placement to eliminate the school"?to-prison pipeline.

"We're trying to say, "?look, there's this new model of charity out there that is much more cost-effective, much more dynamic, much more empowering,'" said Egger.

The program equips students with not just culinary skills, but life skills as well. Students learn how to prepare healthy, fresh meals, which in turn are delivered to the elderly and the homeless -- a simple formula that benefits people from different occupations and all walks of life.

Egger believes the goal is to empower the local community, reduce the amount of food that is typically wasted, and prepare fresh and warm meals to the elderly. Reducing the pipeline helps benefit taxpayers, farmers, and recipients of meals. This, in turn, also helps reduce the overcrowding of jails through an economic recovery program. It's a win-win situation that works well in the business world.

"I'm not here to do charity, I'm here to rock L.A. We want to create jobs, opportunity, and really give the city a tremendous value," said Egger.

In this segment of "SoCal Connected," reporter Derrick Shore finds out what's cooking at the L.A. Kitchen. Shore interviews Robert Egger, and a few graduates who believe that they have been given a second chance to make their culinary dreams come true.

Featuring Interviews With:

  • Teresa, student, L.A. Kitchen
  • Robert Egger, founder, L.A. Kitchen
  • Sister Alice Marie Quinn, St. Vincent Meals on Wheels
  • Duc Ta, trainee, L.A. Kitchen

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