The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation Culinary Trade Program Improves Lives


Meet “Junior” Hellard, a student in the Food Bank’s Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation Culinary Trade Program. He is benefiting from this curriculum designed to provide kitchen skills and experience to at-risk individuals. Junior enjoys training with the Food Bank’s culinary staff. He credits the program for helping change his life. “This has been a great experience. It helped me get myself on the right path. This program is a great opportunity for people like me. You have to be ready to stop and change your life.”

Junior is currently living in a half-way house and making the transition back to society. “Before, I got into a lot of trouble. I never put any thought into how I could succeed. Then a coordinator with Tulsa Transitional Center told me about the program at the Food Bank.”

“The Culinary Trade Program has given me the chance to improve myself, and that has been the greatest opportunity. Being surrounded by good people has helped me shift my life and get off the street.”

In addition to his morning duties and learning at the Food Bank, Junior goes to work in the afternoon as the head cook at a local restaurant. It makes for long days and waiting for transportation often means Junior gets home late at night before starting his next morning in the Food Bank kitchen. “Jeff and the crew in the Culinary Center are teaching me good work habits, cooking and kitchen skills, and how to be a team leader. I couldn’t do this without them.”

Junior knows his path won’t be easy, but he noted the Culinary Trade Program has been a key component to changing old patterns. “Man, it’s been a bumpy road, but now I’m actually thinking about my life and making a plan for success. The Food Bank is my safe zone and it has allowed me to get on the right track. Right now, I am studying for my food manger’s certificate and looking ahead. I am so grateful for this opportunity.”

The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation (LTFF) focuses on entrepreneurship, innovation and community engagement projects. The foundation has supported our Culinary Trade Program since 2015.

“The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation is proud to partner with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to create economic opportunity for low income individuals through the LTFF Culinary Trade Program.

“As the students are learning essential culinary skills that equip them for careers in the kitchen by preparing thousands of meals, they are simultaneously helping to feed those that are hungry in our local community. Programs like this, that improve the quality of life for one individual through impacting the lives of thousands in their community, are what make Tulsa such an incredible city.” – Meredith Peebles, COO of Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation