Touch a Heart this holiday season

TOUCH A HEART, a 501(c)3 non profit organization whose mission is to empower the homeless and disadvantaged through job skills training in the food service industry, has just released its “Bakerʻs Heart” Holiday Gift Guide featuring a number of flavors including its popular Oatmeal Flax Cookies (also made with quinoa, chocolate chips and cranberries).

The catalog also features Double Chocolate Almond Biscotti, Cranberry Almond Biscotti, and Biscotti Bites. Bakerʻs Heart products are available in a wide variety of gift sets, from three cookies ($3.50) all the way to a large gift basket ($50). The cookies are also available using ulu flour (breadfruit) and gluten-free flour for a small additional charge. All gift sets are wrapped.

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Deadline to order for the holidays is December 2, while supplies last, with pick-up or delivery (with minimum purchase) between December 5 – 16. To receive a catalog or order your Bakerʻs Heart gifts, contact:

• info@touchahearthawaii.org
• (808) 779-7083
www.touchahearthawaii.org (download catalog and order form)

In addition to the catalog, Bakerʻs Heart products are also available, in limited quantities, at Friend Café (facebook.com/FriendCafeHi/) and Island Café in Kunia (islandcafe808.com), where the cookies won Island Caféʻs “Best Cookie” contest in 2016!

“The old adage, ʻGive a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetimeʻ really sums up the mission of Touch A Heart,” said executive director Robin Kumabe. “Each year in Hawaii, an estimated 14,000 people experience homelessness. Of those living in a shelter, 71% are unemployed. At Touch A Heart, we wanted to do something about that and created a unique business model that teaches job skills, helps with employment placement, and also provides a delicious, quality product that can generate revenue.”

Touch A Heart partners with organizations that have underutilized commercial kitchens which can support its  vocational training and internship programs. In turn, it helps the commercial kitchens generate revenue.

Its pilot program is a partnership with the Salvation Army, which provided the ‘underutilized’ kitchen at its Family Treatment Services center and three women from its Ke Ola Pono program. These women graduated from the first 12-week Basic Life Skills course in 2015, the second 12-week Culinary Skills course in 2016, and are certified by the Hawaii State Department of Health in the Food Safety Course.

Once students successfully complete the program, Touch A Heart can offer them paid internships to work in one of its Social Enterprises projects- such as the Baker’s Heart program- or helps them find employment with its restaurant partners.

Today, the program is training its fourth class of four women who will finish the Touch A Heart program in early December. All but one of the graduates are now gainfully employed, and half are in the food services industry.

“We don’t build shelters or run a food bank, but we have found our own little way to be part of the solution to a growing problem,” added Kumabe. “We strive to be change agents of hope, transforming lives towards a stronger, healthier, and sustainable future.”

 

Diane Ako

Peace of mind By Diane Ako I like to reflect on life. Sometimes it’s philosophically. Sometimes it’s humorously. For all its beauty, life is far too difficult a journey to take alone. You need the support and connection with others to help carry you along the way. Writing brings me that connection– within and without. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings. It helps me reach out to others for advice, wisdom, or feedback. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become you. A wise yogi- Patanjali- said, “Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant.” Let’s speak of things pleasant to one another and seek some peace of mind along the way. ABOUT Diane Ako joined Hawaii: In Real Life in October 2016. She likes being part of a community of local bloggers – people who like writing and sharing, like she does. Ako is an anchor/ reporter at Island News (KITV4 – ABC) in Honolulu. She previously anchored and reported at KHON2 (FOX) and KHNL (NBC), and at stations in California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, In between news jobs, in 2017, she launched and ran her own p.r. company, Diane Ako PR. From 2010-2014, she headed the public relations department at Halekulani Corporation, which oversees luxury resort Halekulani and boutique hotel Waikiki Parc. She’s been blogging since 2009 – before Hawaii: IRL, she wrote for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest daily newspaper, where her stories garnered a dozen journalism awards and an Emmy nomination. Ako has a BA in Communications from Menlo College and an MA in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa. One day, she might figure out how to put that master’s degree to use.

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