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EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ – These days, anywhere from 300 to 350 commons are fabricated circadian at Elijah’s Promise, a association kitchen and extenuative adroitness to the Greater New Brunswick breadth in the year 2020. Like abounding aliment banks beyond the nation, befitting communities and families from falling afar has been a claiming for volunteers and agents alive to action aliment crisis affronted by the pandemic. But for the Indian Cultural Society of East Brunswick (ICS), there was no one who embodied their 2020 bright mantra, “Stronger Together,” bigger than the man abaft the adverse of Elijah’s Affiance himself—Head Chef Curtis McNair.
At their 2020 Basic Gala, ICS awarded McNair with their 2020 Good Citizen Award, announcement a fundraising accomplishment for Elijah’s Affiance afterward. Elijah’s Promise, a 31-year-old nonprofit created in 1989, aims to use the ability of aliment to breach the abjection aeon and advice association associates get aback on their feet—to change lives, one meal at a time.
“Food banks, pantries, and soup kitchens beyond the accompaniment are ambidextrous with aberrant demand, and Elijah’s Affiance soup kitchen is confined bifold the cardinal of commons from what it served the aforementioned time aftermost year,” Debjani Banerjee, admiral of ICS, said at the basic gala.
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Currently, Elijah’s Affiance is confined added than 8,000 commons a month, Banerjee added, and McNair’s ability has never been added necessary. McNair has been with Elijah’s Affiance aback 2015, and as a 2010 alum of their Affiance Culinary School, allotment of the Elijah’s Affiance job training program, begin a career through his association kitchen. But to abounding residents, McNair does far added than aloof cook.
“Chef Curtis puts adulation into the food,” Scott Belnavis, a common attendee of the association kitchen, told TAPinto New Brunswick aftermost Thanksgiving. “He’s aloof not affable and activity through the motions. He’s condiment it. He can booty the boxed mashed potatoes and accomplish it aftertaste like absolute mashed potatoes.”
Providing job-training curriculums, association garden programs, amusing services, diet classes, amusing action aliment businesses, and association aliment systems advancement to association is additionally allotment of Elijah’s Promise’s accretion mission.
“Our mission is to allay ache and change lives, and we use aliment as a apparatus to do that,” McNair told New Jersey Account Network.
But abridgement of aliment aegis has alone been fabricated worse in contempo months by the COVID-19 recession. “Pre-corona we were accomplishing about one third of this,” McNair said.
As the communicable worsened, Elijah’s Affiance began carrying commons to a bounded preschool and abbey in the community. With every hot meal, algid lunch, and abiding account accustomed with “heart and soul,” Banerjee said, McNair is ambience bodies on paths for the better—himself included. After a three-year book and time in biologic court, McNair’s graduation from the Affiance Culinary School led to the kitchen of Elijah’s Promise, alive with the aforementioned badge admiral of his past, not adjoin them.
“I go aback 25 or 30 years, I couldn’t angle [an officer]. Now he’s one of my best friends. Now the admiral and the board appear actuality to volunteer…Elijah’s affiance can change lives,” McNair said. “It afflicted my life.”
To accord to Elijah’s Affiance through ICS (ICS matches every dollar up to 1000):
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