Community Issues

See How Food Changes Lives -- and Communities

Come with us inside Community Kitchen, a place where people who need hope - and job train for careers and feed hungry people at the same time


Chef Darryl Coaston knows that food can change lives. It changed his. When he was younger, Darryl made what he admits were "bad decisions" that landed him in jail. But when he had a chance to come to Community Kitchen in Hazelwood to train in their culinary program, he jumped at it. Not only did he find a career, he's helping young people in the same position he once was in turn their lives around too.

We met them when we visited Community Kitchen on a special day they where the students literally "Showcase" what they've learned.

Community Kitchen Pittsburgh launched in July 2013 as a job training program. But the reason behind the program is two fold:

  • People who face barriers to employment (like addiction, incarceration, lack of education) need training for jobs where they can actually make a family-sustaining wage with room for advancement; and
  • Local Institutions need access to high-quality, healthy food that is affordable.

Community Kitchen does both (and BTW, they also rescued their beautiful facility in the heart of Hazelwood from what was an empty storefront, pictured above). Students get job-training in the culinary arts, and much of the food they make goes to feed people in places like schools, shelters and community centers. CK also does catering jobs to help fund the program. It's a perfect combination. "The culinary field is a really forgiving field," in terms of employment opportunity said Chef Darryl. Graduates go on to jobs as prep cooks, line cooks, chefs, caterers and restaurant workers.

"We can get these guys decent jobs making decent wages to take care of their families." Darryl Coaston, Lead Chef Trainer

If you like the concept of helping people get a second chance while feeding the community as much as we do, Community Kitchen would be grateful for donations (click here ) to keep doing what they do.

And speaking of fundraisers, Smokestack Lightning: Benefit Concert for Community Kitchen is just around the corner on Saturday, March 9 at Riverview Presbyterian Church. All proceeds go toward student programs. The event includes a concert by the band Smokestack Lightning, and dinner and/or hors d'oerves at intermission, all cooked by CK students. Click here to reserve your seat at the Community Kitchen Table!

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