Good Food for a Good Cause
The entire enterprise is the brainchild of Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Judy
Tensing (whose official current title is Catering Director) and Sister Barbara Wheeler, a Dominican Sister of Hope. In the early 1980s, the women operated a food pantry in the west end of Cincinnati, where they spent hours in conversation with the area's low-income residents. According to Sister Judy, those who frequented the food pantry asked not for handouts, but for jobs. Shortly thereafter, Power Inspires Progress was born. Sub-standard education, nonexistent skills and lack of transportation are employment barriers experienced by inner city residents like those who flock to the PIP program.
Giving thanks is a daily occurrence at Power Inspires Progress (PIP)
, a nonprofit job-training program in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the past 26 years, hundreds of participants have found jobs thanks to the skills they acquired at PIP. At the heart of the program is a restaurant called Venice on Vine as well as a catering business, where participants learn the ins and outs of restaurant and business management.
| In Congo, Deciding Who Eats |
At the Sisters' schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo, students are so impoverished that they often eat only one meal a day. Sisters see students losing concentration, slumping in their seats and complaining of stomach aches. "Sister, we are hungry," the Sisters often hear. "Can you help us?"
|Sister Marie-Angele prepares ears of corn for the students' porridge. |
Sister Justine at the Mpese Mission agreed to oversee the planting of a field of corn by the school's secondary students. When the corn was harvested and made into a thin porridge, Sister Justine was concerned it would not feed the entire school for very long. She decided to put it to the students. "Who eats?" she asked. "Sister," they replied. "We are all hungry. We all eat."
The porridge was carefully distributed for several days before it ran out. The students wondered if they could keep a school garden growing year round. That was when Sister Justine told them that she had not used all the harvested corn for the porridge. She had held some back for use in growing a second harvest. She had saved enough for the students to do a second planting.