Founder of Inspiration Kitchens, a food service training program that provides homeless Chicagoans with culinary skills, Inspiration Corporation has helped hundreds of individuals with very different situations secure temporary transitional jobs and restore a sense of self-esteem, dignity and self-sufficiency in their everyday lives. With a capacity to serve over 3,000 Chicagoans annually, characterized by chronic homelessness, unemployment or underemployment, mental illness, substance abuse and social isolation, Inspiration Corporation provides individuals with the opportunity, will-power and skills to be able to change their work, home and economic situation. The average participant age at Inspiration Corporation is 43 years, with most having little or no prior work history. Over 80% of entering participants have no source of income upon entry, while the programs also serve people with disabilities (15%) and veterans (9%).
As a case in point of the Kitchen’s sucess, a financially indebted Willie Child, who came to Inpsiration Kitchens in the Fall of 2010 after already pursuing training in the culinary field, could no longer substantiate the costs for his culinary classes and books in addition to supporting his family. After connecting with Inspiration Kitchen, Willie was driven to success, and felt that “they actually cared, and I knew that it made them feel good if their students succeeded.” After graduating from training with Inspiration Kitchens, Willie was able to secure a temporary transitional job with HoneyBaked Ham for 30 days, which turned into a permanent part-time position after the externship period expired.
While the organization can vouch for many success stories, it faces daily pressing challenges in helping individuals and families obtain greater self-sufficiency– from overflowing wait lists to overbearing caseloads, it is very evident that demand for affordable housing continues to exceed its supply. In light of these challenges, Inspiration Corporation will be running in the Run Home Chicago races on June 10th to highlight the positive outcomes of their work and spread awareness concerning their mission and everyday activities. If you’d like to run with Inspiration Corporation, please take a look at their Charity Team Profile on our site.