Meet Antonio

“I’m grateful for this chance to have a set, steady job and spend more time with my kids.”

Antonio is passionate about two things: cooking and children.

When Antonio became a young father, he dropped out of high school to work at a fast food restaurant. Since then he’s worked a variety of jobs but never found a way to break the cycle of living one week at a time. He always dreamed of going back to school, but could never afford the tuition.

Then Antonio met Chef Kenneth Neal, a past Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida culinary student. Kenneth mentored Antonio and encouraged him to apply to the program. ⁠

“When Kenny realized that I was the cook in the family, he took me under his wing,” explained Antonio. “I guess you could say it’s his way of paying it forward.”

Antonio applied and was accepted into Second Harvest's Culinary Training Program. While he was familiar with cooking for a crowd, Antonio learned terminology, processes and skills during the 16-week program to better prepare him for a sustainable career.

“My kids are proud of me,” he said. “I’ve shown them that if you work hard and commit to what you’re doing, anything is possible.”

Today, Antonio is working as a cook at Isleworth Country Club with the goal of starting his own business one day. “I want to leave a legacy for my kids,” he said.

Your A Spoon Full of Hope purchases help students like Antonio. Thank you for your support!

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