Drexel students will help Project HOME make and jar “Sister Mary’s Sinfully Delicious Cranberry Sauce."
Just in time for the holidays, students from Drexel University’s Center for Hospitality and Sport Management will team up with Project HOME on Oct. 28 at the Free Library of Philadelphia to make and jar cranberry sauce. All of the proceeds from the sales of the sauce will support Project HOME’s initiatives to provide job training for formerly homeless individuals.
This marks the third year that Project HOME, a Philadelphia non-profit organization empowering individuals to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness through affordable housing, employment, health care and education, will be making and selling “Sister Mary’s Sinfully Delicious Cranberry Sauce.”
The all-natural cranberry relish is made using a family recipe from Project HOME’s Executive Director S. Mary Scullion. Producing the cranberry sauce gives seasonal work and food handler training to residents during October and November.
The sauce will be made and jarred on Tuesday, Oct. 28, from 5 – 8 p.m., by 12 students from Drexel’s fall-term class entitled “Food Preservation Technique,” taught by Chef Rich Pepino, and 10 formerly homeless Project HOME residents. The class will separate into two groups, with six students cooking while the other six learn from a Project HOME representative about the complex social issue of homelessness and the equally complex solutions proposed by Project HOME. The groups will then switch roles so everyone has a chance to participate.
The event will take place in the recently renovated, state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen on the fourth floor of the Main Branch the Free Library of Philadelphia, called the Culinary Literacy Center. The Free Library has been a long-term partner of Project HOME.
“We’ve been making cranberry sauce for the past two years, but this is the first year that we’ve had the opportunity to team up with a partner like Drexel,” said Scarlett McCahill, social enterprise manager for Project HOME. “We’re so excited to have such an energetic chef and crew. It’s a win-win because students get to work on a real, marketed product while our residents are getting great job experience and building workforce and social skills. Through the process, they also discover that they have more strength and talent inside of them than they knew.”
The sauce can be purchased for $6.95 per jar online at https://projecthome.org/store, at HOME Page Café (19th and Vine Streets, inside the Parkway Central Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia) or HOME Spun Resale Boutique (between 15th and 16th on Fairmount Ave.), which all employ Project HOME residents. It has previously been available through other partners such as Metropolitan Bakery, DiBruno Brothers and Wegman’s, and Project HOME is hoping to make that a possibility again this year.
The sauce has sold out before Thanksgiving every year, but with the 25 percent increase in production this year, Project HOME is hoping to reach even more people.
Drexel’s “Food Preservation Techniques” course was opened up to members of the local community free-of-charge, and is made up of 7 students and 5 members of the local community.
The hands-on course focuses on food production and the supply chain known as “farm to fork.” Students learn core principles in processing, such as canning, dehydration and safe-packaging, which are presented with related implications for issues such as product integrity, food security and waste/cost management.
The students had the opportunity to prepare, cook and serve recipes by celebrity Chef Carla Hall at the Dornsife Center’s community dinner on Oct. 7. Photo credit Brian Michael Kinney.
To enforce this “farm to fork” principle, the class has been sharing the preserved items it has prepared through monthly community dinners at Drexel’s Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships (35th and Spring Garden Streets). The students also had the opportunity to prepare, cook and serve recipes by celebrity Chef Carla Hall at the Dornsife Center’s community dinner on Oct. 7 as part of a collaboration between Hall and the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management to launch Hall’s new Nashville-inspired restaurant in New York City.
On Saturday, Oct. 25, the class will travel to a canning company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for a firsthand look at the hand-jarring processing and to see how it’s done professionally, particularly in mass quantities.
This isn’t the first time that Drexel has collaborated with Project HOME. Last October, Drexel hosted an exhibition at the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s URBN Center entitled “Artists for All Seasons,” featuring the work of Project HOME residents and Teen Program participants. A similar collaboration will be taking place in April 2015.
In another project, Drexel’s LeBow College of Business partnered with Project HOME to boost the nonprofit’s healthy snacks and handmade items sales. For more on this project, visit http://www.lebow.drexel.edu/news/project-homemade.
Project HOME also has collaborated with the design and merchandising program in Drexel’s Westphal College, working together to solve merchandising challenges.