Arizonans have until April 15th to claim charitable tax credits, and there are plenty of local organizations to choose from if you’re looking to help.
One of those is Gap Ministries, a nonprofit that offers foster care services, as well as community programs. News 4 Tucson recently visited Gap Ministries’ Culinary Program, which helps students cook up a new future.
“We give people skills so that they can, therefore, get a job,” explained Executive Chef, John Hohn. “We give them life skills so they can keep a job, and we give them financial skills so they can help prepare their family and the next generation that follows them for a better life than they might have right now.”
The food cooked in the class helps to feed children in need.
The program’s students mostly include people recently released from prison, as well as people who have struggled with substance abuse.
Graduate Luis Esquivel spent 75 months in prison before joining the program. Today, he has his own successful food truck, Sazon El Sebo-Yon.
“After the culinary arts, you would take an hour and half of business and financial. And then in the afternoon, we'd have an hour and a half of life skills,” he said. “It just teaches you how to really manage your money, how to manage your time, how to live your life without being a criminal. It guides you in the right direction.”
Current student, Melissa Celaya, is hopeful the program will guide her in the right direction as she pursues her dreams of being a chef.
“I've done a lot in my past that I'm not proud of, but this is one of the best things that I could've chosen to done,” she said. “It's really changed a lot in my life.”
Gap Ministries is always looking for volunteers and donations. Any money given will qualify donors for a Foster Care Tax Credit of up to 1,000 dollars.
For more information on Gap Ministries, click here.