The Cook it Up program in Haliburton is an initiative of SIRCH Community Services, and it’s all about helping people get jobs. Alisha Lafleur is the Coordinator and Trainer and she says they’ve trained eight people to work in the food service industry.

Lafleur explains that the trainees have received all the certifications and training to be successful in a restaurant setting. The other part of the program, which started on Monday, gives the participants the experience they need to put on their resume. To do that, they are offering a free lunch every Monday until May.

Lafleur tells us about another aspect of the program they’ve put together to help the participants move on into employment.

The program is also described as an experiment in kindness. The meals are offered for free, and Lafleur explains why that is.

People going in to enjoy lunch are welcome to give a donation, which Lafleur says will go toward hopefully having the program run for another year. But, if people don’t have the money to donate, they don’t have to. Each person who enjoys the lunch also gets a gift of gratitude at the end of their meal with the hope that they will pay it forward.

The lunches will run every Monday at Baked & Battered in Haliburton from 11 o’clock until three o’clock. The last one will be on the Monday before the May long weekend. To find out more about it, visit the SIRCH website.