Sometimes, you just need a hand up in life.And that’s what Paula Kaufman is hoping to do with Out of a Jam for women in Fort Wayne who are coming out of difficult situations, such as abuse, tragedies or addiction.
Out of a Jam is a nonprofit program to help women learn basic culinary skills and receive their food handlers certification.
She expects the program to be an eight-week course, meeting three to four hours a day, three days a week, starting in September. Kaufman plans to teach 12 students per class. Three weeks will focus on workforce development to improve students' skills in the workplace.Kaufman plans for students in Out of a Jam to start learning how to make different kinds of jams. Then they will learn to make baked goods that can go with jam, such as crackers, flatbread, scones and biscuits.
As program grows in the future, Kaufman hopes to add other skill sets for other lines of work, such as commercial cleaning or business skills, depending on the volunteers. She also hopes to eventually do a class for men and teens.
The founder said they’re still in the fundraising stage of their program. One way they’re raising money is by selling jam at the YLNI Farmers Market every Saturday at Barr and Wayne streets. She sells jars of jams for $9, and there are other baked goods. Customers are allowed to sample the jams before buying. Kaufman tells her story at these times, as well as giving a handout to be contacted if they want to volunteer.
"We spread the word one spoonful at a time," said Kaufman.
Go to outofajamfortwayne.com to learn more.