Lake Effect Kitchen currently operates a commercial meal prep and catering business in Grand Haven, teaching adults with disabilities employment and culinary skills and using our network of business contacts to help them find community employment at competitive wages after completing our internship program. Our stance is that people with disabilities can be great employees and contribute to a business’ bottom line while earning a competitive wage. LEK is a for-profit business focused on building the foundations for people of all abilities to be authentic members of our community. The food business is not a high-profit business, but we believe we can do well by doing good, and that we as owners learn just as much from our interns and employees as we teach.
Upon exiting the public school system, many young adults with intellectual disabilities work in sheltered workshops or, worse yet, don’t work at all, becoming isolated at home. Meaningful work is important for all humans to have dignity and purpose in life. LEK aims to provide a bridge to competitive jobs for this segment of our community through on-the-job training and employment, and to show that having people with disabilities in your workforce is not charity, but just good business.
What I Will Do With $5,000
With the $5,000, we will purchase equipment and secure a lease to expand to a second location that will be a cafe, market and meeting space. This will help us expand our curriculum to teach front-of-the-house skills such as customer interaction and financial transactions and increase the students’ visibility in the community, opening employment doors. This would allow us to serve more students, provide more employment opportunities and offer space for other entrepreneurs to sell their wares.