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Fisherman's Project Helps the Homeless Help Themselves

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RALEIGH — There's a place in Raleigh where everyone is welcome. You don't need reservations, and French cuisine is on the menu. The Shepherd's Table Soup Kitchen has been turned into a culinary classroom for people in need.

More than 200 people come through the soup kitchen every day expecting nothing more than a warm, healthy meal. But these days, they're also getting a healthy helping of foods usually found in the finest restaurants. It all begins back in the Shepherd's Table Soup Kitchen.

Rick Lekoski is a culinary chef who's teaching would-be chefs through the Fisherman's Project. The food they're preparing will go to feed the hungry and homeless.

"It's creating great, nutritious food for people who need it," Lekoski explains. "It's eliminating hunger in the world also."

It may be just a soup kitchen, but the students are cooking a lot more than soup. They're preparing really complicated meals like blackened cod.

"It feels good to see people benefit from it, people that aren't able to earn money for whatever reason," says Pat, a culinary student.

While they're helping others, they're also chopping, stirring and brazing their way toward new careers. All the students who have gone through the program now have jobs in the food industry.

"It's something I've always wanted to do all my life," admits James, another culinary student, "and I'm thankful for the opportunity, and this program fits the bill."

Lekoski says the program builds up the students' self-esteem, especially when they can complete the program. For them, it's a nice, wonderful start.

The food is donated by restaurants through the Interfaith Food Shuttle. Organizers are looking for more space and cookware.

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Landra Booker, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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