Summertime in Boise is synonymous with being outside. Before going on a hike or maybe after perusing Boise’s downtown farmer’s market this weekend, you can stop by the first Feed Your Soul Festival put on by the nonprofit Create Common Good. The free family event offers food trucks, craft beer, games and live music.
In an email interview, the group’s CEO, Tracy Hitchcock, says Create Common Good got its start in 2008 as a response to the financial crisis.
In the beginning, she says, the group “focused on the refugee population that was hit even harder by the crisis than many other populations in our community. Initially, CCG was working with refugees to help them earn income via their current talent & skills sets—sewing, crafting, etc. In 2011, a small piece of land was made available for farming, turning the organization’s focus to agriculture and food.”
Since then, Hitchcock says the organization has shifted its focus to be entirely centered around “foodservice skills training and job placement services, as well as wholesale business-to-business food manufacturing in our large kitchen facility on Federal Way.”
Some of the populations CCG serves include refugees, people reentering the workforce after prison and those overcoming addiction.
Still based in Boise, Hitchcock says there’s a plan to expand.
“[We] have begun serving people more broadly in the Treasure Valley with plans to expand our program into the rest of the state/region in the next two to three years and, eventually, nationally.”
As they continue to widen their reach, Hitchcock says it’s only possible thanks to many partnerships throughout the community. Mostly powered by volunteers, Create Common Good works locally with groups such as the Women & Children’s Alliance, International Rescue Committee and Agency for New Americans.
“Of course,” Hitchcock writes, “our program doesn’t work if the people we train don’t get into livable-wage jobs, so our employment partners are key to our collective success. Delaware North, who runs all foodservice at the airport, is our strongest employment partner with 40% of their employees coming as graduates from CCG. We also work closely with the Boise Co-op, Chick-fil-A, Riverside Hotel, Thomas Cuisine Management and many others who understand the value of hiring a person with 120 hours of training, confidence and a strong work-ethic.”
So, if you want to feel good about enjoying some food and music in Capitol Park Saturday by supporting a local group working to provide skills, check out the Feed Your Soul Festival. It starts at 11 a.m. and runs through 9 p.m.
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