By WPTV – Staff
Published: Oct. 18, 2021
For weeks WPTV has reported on The Lord’s Place assisting more homeless families in need of housing and more families on the brink. In response, The Lord’s Place is going through its own transition — like opening the new Joshua Deli in Lake Park. It’s the first-ever retail foodservice operation offering dine-in, delivery and take-out for the public. But the new deli is more than just serving sandwiches.
Chandra Martin is under pressure.
“It’s an opportunity,” Martin said. “It’s love, it’s support and it’s here for you to grab it.”
And it’s good pressure as a line of hundreds wait opening day of the new Joshua Deli. But off the clock, Martin has three other people to feed.
“It’s real,” Martin said.
Martin lost her job two months ago due to COVID and she came to The Lord’s Place looking for support amid the transition. “Our students come from a broad spectrum,” said Chef Robert Coleman, with The Lord’s Place culinary program. “We have folks that are coming out of incarceration. We have folks that are coming out of homelessness. We have folks that are a threat of becoming homeless. And so, by offering them this opportunity for job training we’re giving them the tools they need to bring themselves out of those situations.”
Chef Coleman is referring to the culinary work experience program that provides certificates and skills to climb the ranks in a commercial kitchen.
“I want to open up my own soul food catering business,” Martin said.
“One of the things that’s the hardest thing to teach in the food industry is sense of urgency,” Chef Coleman added.
Chief operating officer (COO) Kerry Diaz said the timing of the opening further supports the mission. And every dollar supports breaking the cycle of homelessness.
“The money goes to support The Lord’s Place mission and if you just look at what we’re doing here — it built what we’re in right now,” Diaz said. “It helps pay for the chefs that train the apprentices. So, the money you spend here goes right back into continuing the good work that our whole organization does.” While also supporting local industry.
“That’s going to be huge for the employers here in the community,” Chef Coleman said.