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Foodie Gifts That Give Back

Three local nonprofits combine culinary gift-giving with community service


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Project CHOP

Job training for at-risk individuals and partnerships with local farmers to reduce food waste are the cornerstones of Kitchens for Good, a nonprofit based in Lincoln Park. “Kitchens for Good graduates work at some of San Diego’s top restaurants, and 90 percent remain employed in the culinary industry,” says Laura Johnson, KFG’s marketing director. They also offer a retail product line of savory spreads, including the tart, spicy Apple of My IPA Jelly, and Drunk Mustard, with hints of locally brewed beer and horseradish, available online or at farmers’ markets in North Park, Pacific Beach, and Little Italy.
404 Euclid Avenue, Lincoln Park

The Tomorrow Project helps homeless women gain pragmatic job skills and earn a stipend while creating spice rubs and vegetarian soup and rice mixes, including their best-selling shiitake mushroom almond rice. The one-pot meals bring warmth to chilly evenings. Order online or at their downtown storefront.
1777 Fifth Avenue, Bankers Hill

Project CHOP’s mission is to welcome refugees, hone their English skills, and prepare them for permanent employment. Interns handcraft “locavore” platters with locally grown vegetables. Unique dips like Smoky Orange Carrot Hummus celebrate the global flavors of the cooks’ home countries. “We were so successful with job placement in our last cohort that more than 50 percent were employed before the internship even ended,” says Program Manager Anchi Mei. “We were really scrambling in the kitchen with far fewer hands. But that was a wonderful problem to have.” Small platters and salads are available anytime at Parkside Market in North Park. Place larger orders by Wednesday morning for weekend pickup at Cardamom Cafe and Bakery in North Park or Project CHOP’s kitchen in City Heights.
4300 El Cajon Boulevard, City Heights

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