Providence to Assume Management of Food and Beverage Operations and Accommodations
Winston-Salem. N.C., September 25, 2020—A deepening partnership with Forsyth County is providing expanding opportunities for Second Harvest’s Providence enterprises, as the Providence team prepares to bring its exceptional, mission-driven culinary and hospitality expertise to management of food and beverage operations and accommodations at the beautiful Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, NC.
“Second Harvest and Providence, and frankly most organizations, have spent the time since March of this year in a constant cycle of assessing, pivoting, acting, and reassessing,” said Eric Aft, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. “This process has led us to a very exciting opportunity to partner with Forsyth County in new and meaningful ways that, to me and our board members, are a win-win all around."
“In 2021 and beyond, Providence is going to look different, and we could not be more excited about the opportunities that lie ahead to establish the Providence brand and embrace new training opportunities for our Providence Culinary Training graduates at Tanglewood Park,” said Chef Jeff Bacon, VP and Executive Director for Providence.
Since its founding in 2006, Providence has grown from its roots as a culinary training program to include social enterprises that afford program graduates on-the-job experience and provide revenue to fund the school. In 2015, Providence Catering passed the million dollar per year mark in sales. By 2019, Providence had prepared and provided over one million meals for hunger relief and, that same year, celebrated the graduation of its 100th culinary class.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the mandated shutdown of Providence Restaurant and Catering and temporary closing of Providence Culinary Training, left Second Harvest and Providence faced with the reality that 45 team member positions no longer existed. A rapid assessment of community needs that could readily be served by the skill set of these Providence team members led to two key initiatives: HEARD Café and the expansion of Providence Community Meals.
HEARD Café offered meals in Downtown Winston-Salem for displaced hospitality workers and local artists out of the former Providence Kitchen at BB&T location, which closed in early March of this year after BB&T vacated the building. HEARD drew national attention and continues to bring awareness of the work of Second Harvest and Providence.
Providence Community Meals (PCM), a meal delivery program operating out of the Providence kitchen in the heart of the Food Bank’s main warehouse, quickly ramped up its work and, at its height this past summer, was preparing and delivering 40,000 meals a week for children and medically fragile seniors. Providence team members also provided support for Second Harvest Food Bank’s essential food distribution programs, taking on the work of inspecting, sorting, and repacking food donations until volunteers could safely return to the Second Harvest Volunteer Center.
“Not long ago, Providence employed over 70 individuals with 80% of them being graduates from our training program and, since 2006, the social return on investment for Greater Winston Salem from the Providence program is over 30 million dollars,” explained Bacon. “Now, as our work supporting emergency response is tapering, we’re excited to be embarking on a new direction with our locial enterprises.”
Providence Culinary Training is back up and running and, while Providence will not be re-opening at the Doubletree, the full-service Providence Catering team is eager to serve the community from their new home at Tanglewood. The Providence Team will staff the newly named enterprise--Providence at the Manor House. Providence will also manage and staff food and beverage operations at Providence Grill in the Golf Club House.
Longtime and new patrons of Providence’s annual Thanksgiving-to-Go event will soon have the opportunity to come out to Providence at the Manor House, which will serve as the pickup location for this year’s feast-to-go. In time, the Providence Hospitality Residency will resume at Tanglewood, albeit with a significantly enhanced curriculum.
“Over the years, Forsyth County management has developed great respect for the transformational work of Second Harvest and the Providence team,” said Dudley Watts, County Manager. “Tanglewood Park is an exceptional community asset with a great deal to offer both area residents and out-of-town visitors. In our partnership at the Manor House and the Golf Operations/Clubhouse we further the County's goal of workforce development while exceeding expectations for great hospitality at the Park.”
“Stay tuned for the launch of our new website this fall and more news in the coming months about new and exciting offerings as Providence expands menus and hospitality services at Tanglewood Park,” said Chef Bacon.
About Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC
At Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC, we believe that everyone deserves to eat and that all communities can be healthy and hunger-free. We address both the immediate food assistance needs of families as well as the causes of poverty and food insecurity. We are the primary source for food for a network of more than 430 local food assistance programs (pantries, community kitchens, shelters, and meals programs for children and seniors) serving communities throughout 18 Northwest North Carolina counties. We operate Providence Culinary Training and two non-profit restaurants. Every day, we strive to address the critical connections between hunger and health, with a focus on alleviating childhood hunger, providing impactful nutrition education, advocating for policies that strengthen families, and collaborating with others to build locally relevant solutions to hunger and poverty. We are a proud member of Feeding the Carolinas and of Feeding America. Learn more about our work and get involved at SecondHarvestNWNC.org.