The loan will enable the organization to outfit a twenty-thousand-square-foot commercial kitchen, purchase equipment, and move from its pilot phase to a full-scale launch later this year. Founded in 2013 by Robert Egger, the founder and former president of D.C. Central Kitchen, L.A. Kitchen provides job training and permanent jobs to people who face barriers to employment, improves nutrition and meal services for older Angelenos, and works to reduce food waste.
The organization's job training program, currently a pilot project operating out of St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, trains youth aging out of foster care and adults leaving incarceration for jobs in the food service industry, while partnering with local farms, wholesalers, and food service businesses to reclaim produce that would have otherwise gone to waste to prepare healthful meals that are distributed for free or at a reduced price to social service organizations.
"L.A. Kitchen is both a start-up venture and a replication of a proven business model," said Jennifer Kawar, vice president and chief investment officer at NFF. "We're investing in a visionary leader and in an undaunted, experienced team committed to enhancing services for a growing population of vulnerable seniors and to creating opportunities for unemployed people in Los Angeles....This is a compelling example of what social enterprise can accomplish across multiple issue areas."