Long before founding Bake the World a Better Place, I grew up in a little village in Western NY with a roughly 1,400 person population.
As a lot of little kids who grow up in the middle of nowhere, I always felt like my dreams were so much bigger than I could accomplish being where I was.
At the same time, I didn’t have a true idea of what I would have loved to do for the rest of my life, or study for at school, because the jobs and options I saw around me were limited.
Not saying they were limited in how much money you could make or how happy you could be with doing that job forever; but limited in the sense that all the jobs that seemed to be hiring were either maintenance, construction, or being a police officer.
At the time, I had no way of telling what it was I wanted to do, because the options weren’t in front of me. There were no other programs doing what Bake the World a Better Place now does; and if there were they were nowhere near where I lived.
In 2012 I left NY in pursuit of happiness. No idea what that could be, but I knew there was something else out there and it needed to be experienced.
This was my first time really being out of my home town, being away from friends and family. I spent the next year working part time jobs and living day to day until the day came I didn’t have the means to support myself anymore with what I was doing.
Coming up with rent and food money was hard enough, add on paying for insulin and kidney meds it got to a point I needed to put my priorities in order. As quick as a snap of a finger, I was out on the streets. This is where my idea for Bake the World a Better Place really started to come together.
My first home away from a real home was a dugout at an un-named school’s baseball field in Maryland. It was November at the time and I’m pretty sure the high of the week was 25 degrees. I did this for a few weeks, and then put in my two-week notice at both of my part time jobs. After I had got my last paycheck and got the things I needed, I had $150 left over, and spent $130 on a plane ticket to Denver.
I landed at Denver International on January 28th, 2013 with $20 in my pocket.
I met a man at the airport who after talking with for about 20 minutes, told me he would give me a ride to the city. My first nights in Denver were spent at Civic Center Park sleeping on benches until I was told to leave, and then going to Starbucks or McDonalds when they opened so I could use the internet and try to find a job, which I did.
Before I had left NY I had come up with an idea for Bake the World a Better Place; an organization revolved around disenfranchised/homeless individuals and getting them jobs in the food industry.
Almost all of the jobs I had throughout my past were kitchen based, and in every one of those positions, we needed extra help. After a series of unfortunate events, I too was homeless and knew that as long as I had skills to work in a kitchen, I could find a job anywhere on earth. Everyone has to eat, and someone has to make that food.
I ended up working all over the city of Denver, until I had moved myself up the chain high enough, and started earning enough to get myself off the streets and get the first apartment I had in my name in almost 3 years. I finally found a job I loved, working at Warren Village and being the head chef for their Learning Center.
There I met so many people, had the opportunity to join some great committee’s and boards and moved myself into a position of not only having the experience of being homeless. I was now sitting in rooms with people who could help make the decisions that had to be made in order to help those people who were in need the same way I used to be.
I came from a place where I didn’t personally know anyone who was truly struggling, to a point where I have been that person and I know so many that are still out there.
The point of this little rant was just to show that cooking and life are extremely similar in that ‘Nothing comes out of the oven perfect, even pizza needs to sit for a minute before you slice into it.‘
So, if anyone out there is reading this; just know that time really is of the essence. My story is nowhere near finished, but I am hoping that the decisions I am making today are what is going to shape not only my future, but other peoples as well, and that’s all we can do. Just keep pushing forward. Bake the World a Better Place is how I am pushing forward.
If you know of someone who can use help with poverty or homelessness; Please visit our Contact Page and send Bake the World a Better Place a message!