CHESTER — More than 45 trainees that participated in a five-week Philabundance Service Industry training course recently celebrated its successful completion at city hall.
The course included classroom and practical training in the areas of customer service, safe food handling, resume writing, interviewing, computer skills and other skills related to gaining employment in the food industry. All graduates are being considered for jobs at the Fare and Square Market located in the West End of the city; however, job placement is not guaranteed.
Noah Langnas, manager of Fare and Square, used a clip from the movie “Miracle,” which highlights the 1980 U.S. Olympic team’s upset of the Russian ice hockey team, to reiterate that great moments do happen.
“You have been given an opportunity over the last five weeks and you all took advantage of that opportunity,’ said Langnas. “Remember that success has to do with doing your best. If you do your best, you are winners.”
Langnas said he started in the grocery service business pushing carts and mopping floors, and worked his way up to the position he holds today.
“And you will still see me walking around with a mop and bagging groceries,”Langnas said. “I don’t forget where I came from in this business. Great moments come from great opportunities. I hope you take this opportunity and run with it. It has been my sincere pleasure to have this time with you.”
Fare and Square, a nonprofit grocery store, located at Ninth and Trainer streets, is scheduled to open Sept. 28. The market will provide nutritious food with a focus on staple products, including fresh produce, seafood, deli, dairy and frozen foods.
The West End of Chester is one of 35 U.S. Department of Agriculture determined food deserts in the Delaware Valley and has been without a full-service grocery store since 2001. Fare and Square is expected to provide between 40 and 50 new jobs and is dedicated to hiring from within the community when possible.
Chester Mayor John Linder was on-hand and asked the participants to give themselves a hand.
“One thing about raising self-esteem is that you learn to embrace the moment,” Linder said. “When you do something good, you need to say I did something good. If you want somebody else to appreciate you, then you must learn to appreciate yourself.”
Linder said success is not an event, but rather a process. He added that failure is not a person, it is an event.
“I am very proud of you,” said Linder.
Philabundance Senior Vice President of Human Resources Cathy Doherty expressed appreciation to the staff and course participants.
“I am surrounded by the most amazing people,” said Doherty. “You have come here for five weeks and you have given us your attention and your all. You have made us feel like the experience and knowledge we are sharing is of interest to you. It has been a tremendous joy to be part of this process.”
Doherty said a lot of people came every day for five weeks, with the idea of getting as much as possible out of the class.
“There are people who brought their ‘A’ game every single day and I can’t tell you how grateful and excited I am for you,” Doherty said.
Philabundance Deputy Director of Training Candace Matthews-Bass, who wrote the curriculum for the course, told the participants how much the instructors and staff appreciated all of their hard work and dedication.
“You should know that we believe in self-sufficiency and believe that when people are given the opportunity, they can do anything,” said Matthews-Bass. “We feel that every single person has a purpose and if you give them the tools, they can live out that purpose.”
Course participants were presented with certificates of achievement and congratulated by all Philabundance administration and staff, as well as by Linder and other Chester officials.
“I was amazed at what I remembered,” said course participant Ruth Richardson. “I believe it is important to continue learning because a person is never too old to learn. The staff was great and I can honestly say this was the best five weeks I have ever spent.”