Detroit Kitchen Terminal Supports Food Workers in Detroit

Desiré Vincent Levy talks about supporting food workers in Detroit during the pandemic and facilitating training and job placements with Detroit Kitchen Terminal.

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When the pandemic caused restaurants to close their doors, thousands of food workers were suddenly out of work.

Desiré Vincent Levy, co-founder of Detroit Kitchen Terminal, saw the dire circumstances hospitality workers faced and acted quickly.

Pivoting from the organization’s training and development focus, she began fundraising for the Detroit Kitchen Terminal’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant.

As a result, the fund provided vital cash assistance to food workers who suddenly found themselves with no income.

“It felt so urgent at the moment, and we had the resources to spare,” says Vincent Levy.

“So we started out a fund, and once we put it online we had an overwhelming amount of support from people who donated to support it, but then also an overwhelming amount of people who applied.”

“And while I’m grateful that we were able to step up and help some individuals that were impacted, we didn’t meet the need of everyone, just because it was so great.”

Now, restaurants are back open, but they’re struggling to find workers.

In many cases, workers have moved on to other hospitality jobs in adjacent industries, says Chef James Rigato.

On top of training and professional development, Detroit Kitchen Terminal now offers job placement services to connect workers and employers, too.

In this episode:

  • Desiré Vincent Levy on coming to the aid of food workers with the Detroit Kitchen Terminal COVID-19 Relief Grant
  • How to get involved with Detroit Kitchen Terminal
  • The challenges restaurants and hospitality workers faced during the pandemic
  • Restaurants struggling to hire enough staff as they return to full operation
  • The impact of Detroit Food Academy as a bridge to the hospitality industry

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  • David Leins
    David Leins is a Podcast Coordinator and Producer at WDET. He also oversees the StoryMakers program. When he isn't making radio and podcasts, David is probably on a hike somewhere marveling at the trees.