GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A grant was awarded to the Stone Soup Culinary Institute, a non-profit organization that helps students earn a food handlers license in Massachusetts.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Urban Agenda Grant Program awarded $100,000 to help fund the Stone Soup Culinary Institute, which prepares students for an array of positions in the diverse field of food service.

“Fills a very critical need for those trying to get back on their feet have some good training and have some income and also be prepared to step into the workforce in a sustained and supported way,” said M.J. Adams, Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Greenfield.

The 12-week program includes experience interning at Stone Soup Café or a local restaurant learning the fundamentals of cooking and the safe handling and serving of food and beverages. Students who complete the program will earn a Food Handlers License and ServSafe Certificate, as well as on the job skills.

“The state of Massachusetts through it’s community empowerment and reinvestment program made our dreams come true, there was a vacuum in Franklin County where there was no where for people who wanted to go into the food industry to get good training,” said Kirsten Levitt, Executive Director at Stone Soup Café and Culinary Institute.

“These grants represent state and federal tax dollars paid by Greenfield residents and businesses flowing back into the local community,” said Mayor Wedegartner. “While much of this is one-time revenue that can’t be built into operating budgets, it is helpful as we improve our infrastructure and build for the future. I want to thank our dedicated City staff for aggressively pursuing grant opportunities, and our Grant Manager Athena Lee Bradley, who has certainly embraced the vision I had for the position when it was added last year.”

The City of Greenfield has been awarded a total of $37 million over the last two years including the skatepark and the fire station, as well as the City’s continuing response to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.