Program teaches culinary, life skills to low-income adults

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

For some central Florida residents a cooking class has changed their lives.
 
The class is part of a program through the Second Harvest Food Bank that teaches low-income adults culinary and life skills.
 
Channel 9's Vanessa Echols found out that the program is helping one woman's dream come true.
 
For years, Maria Anderson struggled to put food on the table and pay her bills, while raising her children.
 
"I became a single mother, taking care of three young children, working part time jobs cleaning houses during the day and taking care of the elderly during the night," said Anderson.
 
Then, she heard about Second Harvest's Culinary Training Program, a 12-week program that gives low-income adults hands-on cooking and kitchen training.
 
Students also learn life skills and how to find jobs. The program is free.
 
"This program changed my life," said Anderson. "It was an amazing experience."
 
Anderson is one of nine students who graduated Friday morning from the program. Five of them have job offers lined up, including Anderson.
 
She'll be working full time with Marriott, and as a seasonal chef with Disney, which she calls a dream job.
 
Anderson said she plans to come back to Second Harvest and volunteer to help others just like her.
 
"It's my road to changing my life forever, and that of my children," said Anderson.
 
Nearly 40 students have graduated from the culinary class since the program launched a little more than a year ago.