While the refugee crisis has captured news coverage, the state of Connecticut has received displaced people for several years. This story is about how an investment from several community philanthropists, including the Tariq and Asma Farid Foundation, are giving inspiration to eight refugees who are eager to become food entrepreneurs in New Haven.
The eight, who came from Syria, Afghanistan and Sudan, are participants in a new program called Kitchen Incubator, organized by CitySeed of New Haven. They are training to start a food business. The course also covers subjects in finance, marketing, legal and food safety.
Throughout the 10-week program participants are paired with an experienced mentor in small business management and have access to CitySeed’s commercial kitchen space for food preparation and testing.
On a recent Saturday morning, , participants were busy understanding product development. Working with their mentor, the participants reviewed the items needed for their own recipes and listed how many of each item was required.
“How many pounds of carrots will you need to buy if you make this dish to serve 10 people? What about the parsley and garlic for the tabouli, how much?” asked the mentor as he typed the ingredients into a spreadsheet.
“Three pounds, four bunches of parsley and three cloves,” replied the woman.
Using the spreadsheet, participants could see the volume of food they need to buy while understanding how to set prices for the product they would eventually sell. Future lessons include labeling, food safety and testing products with local chefs.
“Food brings cultures and people together,” observed Asma Farid, director of the Farid Foundation. “We hope participants get training and confidence to become food entrepreneurs and hopefully launch their own businesses.”
The holiday season is upon us and I’m taking a moment to reflect and share how Edible and employees from my companies have supported our communities this year.
Ten Edible employees – trained in Junior Achievement curriculum – volunteered for JA Day at Highland Elementary School in Wallingford, CT. Working in pairs, they taught JA’s ‘Our Community’ program. Youngsters learned about careers and how all jobs help a community.
Employees and franchise owners from across the country donated to Edible Cares™ to help gulf coast franchisees affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Their generosity, along with a corporate gift, provided nearly $20,000 to franchisees, employees and their families in Texas, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana.
$20,000 of fresh fruit was donated in Los Angeles, CA; Dallas TX; Atlanta, GA and New York, NY. More locally, we supported arts, health, food and shelter organizations with product donations like chocolate dipped fruit, Edible to Go® fresh fruit cups and of course, fruit arrangements. Special thanks to the many Edible Arrangements stores who helped with our outreach efforts.
The 3-foot tall, 65-pound Incredible Edible® donated to the Eli Whitney Museum’s Leonard in Bloom Challenge (bottom right), took me back to my roots. The artists who took part in the Challenge submitted work focused on the beauty of flowers. As you know, it was flowers which seeded my inspiration to design the fresh fruit arrangements.
The Edible team delivered over 100 coats to Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven, CT (top right). The coats were donated by employees from the corporate office. IRIS will distribute the coats to resettled refugees.
Employees from Netsolace, one of my technology companies, manned the assembly line at Connecticut Food Bank (top left and center & bottom left) to fill food boxes for hungry families.
I am proud of the team’s compassion and generosity to build a better future for our community. It’s true that happiness and peace can be found in acts of kindness.
A school playground and recess are vitally important to children for their fun and relaxation as well as for their good health and well-being.
That’s why I am so pleased to be part of a $240,000 funding effort that will bring the children at the Green Acres Elementary School in North Haven a new place to have fun. On Friday, we participated in a groundbreaking for the new playground. The new playground will replace one that has been at the school for more than 20 years.
The project is being funded entirely by donations from the Tariq Farid Foundation, Quinnipiac University, Green Acres PTA, the North Haven Education Fund and North Haven Rotary Club.
Supporting this playground improvement is a tangible way for my family and I to give back to the community that we call home.
The countdown to summer has begun. Please join me in a countdown to summer and help give Greater New Haven children a summer full of adventures and opportunities. Since 1905, the New Haven Register’s Fresh Air Fund, a non-profit, has provided summer experiences to more than 35,000 young people in greater New Haven.
When you give to the New Haven Register Fresh Air Fund, you are giving children that chance to sit in the sun and laugh, learn and celebrate summer. Fresh Air Fund campers are the kids who motivate their peers and give back. They’re the kids who grow into future leaders. They might establish their own companies, like I did.
Growing up in West Haven, I benefited from going to summer camp. I believe in giving back and making opportunities available for others, especially children. Three years ago, The Tariq Farid Foundation made its first donation to the Fresh Air Fund to help send kids to camp. Recently, the Foundation made another donation.
I believe that when God blesses you, the way to be thankful is to look around and give back.
Help a young person to experience all the fun, friendships and adventures that summer camp offers. Consider a donation to the Fresh Air Fund. It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference.