The Tampa Bay Food Fight inaugural event puts front and center one of the main causes of homelessness: unemployment due to a lack of marketable skills.

Metropolitan Ministries’ Inside the Box Culinary Arts Program (ITB CAP) preps at-risk students in the skill of culinary arts at no cost to them.  The program is a 16-week course, made up of a cycle of 12 week-long courses.

ITB CAP students receive real life, fast-paced training from our knowledgeable chef instructor. Upon completion, students receive a food handler certification and real-life skills & experience as a food preparer.

OUR GOAL THIS YEAR IS TO PROVIDE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR 100 STUDENTS AND YOU CAN HELP.

To date, ITB CAP has trained over 150 students who are employed at numerous restaurants and food service facilities in the Tampa Bay area.

You can help support the ITB Culinary Arts Program by becoming a Tampa Bay Food Fight sponsor or participate as a restaurant.

MEET CAP GRADUATES

TERRY BYRD

Meet Terry. Unable to care for him, Terry’s mother gave him up for adoption. For many years, he was resentful and angry about his life’s circumstances. He was bullied in school and quickly figured out that he could fit in by being one of the “bad kids.”

He began to steal until he got caught and was sent to a boys program. Although it was only a 6-month program, Terry craved the attention he received from the staff so he continued to act out in order to stay. After two years, Terry was finally released and went back to school, only to realize he was behind in his education. This led him to return to his criminal past. At 17, Terry got caught stealing again. This time, he was charged as an adult and sent to prison. He was released after three years but ended up back in prison four years later for violating his probation.

A year ago, Terry was released from prison, this time equipped with a plan to succeed. Eager to make a change in his life, he enrolled in the Abe Brown Ministries Ready4Work program where he gained skills to help him re-enter the workforce. Terry completed Metropolitan Ministries’ Inside the Box Culinary Arts Program in September and was given a position at the newly opened social enterprise, Dough Nation.

Terry is an excellent employee and frequently receives recognition in online comments and reviews. He takes pride in his work and aims to be a store manager someday. Terry’s story serves as an inspiration to many who have shared his experiences. We are proud of Terry’s journey and wish him well as he continues to #BeHope.

LINDA

Left with few options after her husband walked out on her, Linda bounced around from couch to couch with her son, before finally finding a more permanent home at Metropolitan Ministries. It was there where she found her calling in culinary arts and now serves as a prominent team member of Inside the Box Café, one of the Metropolitan Ministries’ social enterprises in the Bay area.

With your help, Culinary Arts Program students will now have a more prominent role in the community, thanks to a partnership with Stellar Partners and Tampa International Airport. Inside the Box now provides grab n’ gourmet food throughout TIA.

We need your help to make this program a success. By sponsoring a student like Linda in the Culinary Arts Program, you will help someone who was previously homeless, struggling to make ends meet or an aged-out foster child, learn vital career skills. And through programs like our partnership with TIA, they will gain real-world experience on a daily basis.

At Inside the Box, good food is doing good, and you can help be a part of that.