Elvin loves to be around people.
In his hometown of Ponce, Puerto Rico, he worked in hospitality for 20 years.
But “I lost my job in 2020, as a lot of people did, because of the pandemic,” Elvin said. He and his family moved to Orlando, to offer better support to his son, who has special needs.
Despite Elvin’s decades of experience, he was unable to find a job for almost a year. “It was depressing,” he said. He missed working with people and needed money to pay his family’s bills.
“Finally, somebody gave me a chance,” he said.
Elvin completed Second Harvest’s 16-week Second Harvest Culinary Training Program, which provides free kitchen and life skills training to help people pursue sustainable careers in the food industry.
After completing the program, Elvin found a job at a local golf attraction. “I like working there,” he said. “It’s a job with new opportunities.”
“They treat me well, and I feel like I can stay there for a long time,” he said.
He now returns to the food bank to volunteer in the warehouse with his new co-workers. He makes sure to stop by the Darden Foundation Community Kitchen to say hello to his former chef instructors. “They remember me,” he said. “It’s like family.”