Burrito shop changing lives

September 30, 2008 9:36:57 PM PDT
A job training program at an Upper Manhattan church is helping some New Yorkers turn their lives around. They're preparing the fixings for burritos, quesadillas and homemade lemonade.

All the ingredients are fresh, not canned.

Local Flavors Burrito Shop is set-up inside Broadway Presbyterian Church in Morningside Heights.

"The food is great. I've had just about everything on the menu. Now they have lemonade and carrot cake, which is not good for us, but it tastes good," Diane Hill said with a smile.

"I almost never miss and I usually take one home to my wife cause she won't let me in the house on Thursday," Joe Keesecker said, laughing.

This neighborhood eatery is open Tuesdays and Thursdays.

It's run by the non-profit Broadway Community Inc., which trains the workers and helps them get food handling certification.

Many of the men and women here have seen hard times. This program aims to give them skills to get back on their feet.

"It's to see what you've learned from Local Flavors. How you can apply in your life, how you can progress, whether to find a job, start your own company," Ralph Charles of Broadway Community Inc. explained.

"I can open my own shop. I can get a job in the same field. I can expand, Yvonne Shields said.

Shields used to be homeless. She's turning her life around thanks to the program and wants to start her own business.

"I now have more confidence working in the kitchen, giving orders, getting things done and knowing I can cook a meal and people will eat it," she said.

Any money made from sales is split between the workers and the program.

For more information, please visit www.broadwaycommunity.org.

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