Bright Future Youth and Family Services
Society lacks resources for the less privileged or homeless youth population. Eugene, like all the other cities, has a migration of homeless teenagers who have run away from home. They are here for a few months of the year and then they hitch down to California during the winter for warmer weather. These are young adults who have no idea how to be part of society. They can’t provide for themselves and eventually they have children and the cycle continues.
We provide at-risk youth alternative education and career assistance in Lane County. We want to make this experience valuable for our clients. We do this through a series of curricula funded by the Lane Workforce Partnership, Oregon Youth Conservation Corps, Oregon Department of Human Resources, and the local school districts.
Our most recent program is a culinary arts program in which students learn about food preparation and safe handling and then put this knowledge to use by preparing lunches for their peers at the Chambers School. After completing the 9-week curriculum, students are placed with a local food service business for a 60-hour practical training where they can continue to develop their skills. Currently, the culinary arts program is available to five students per 9-week school term, or approximately 25 students per year. Students enrolled in the program are selected because of their sincere interest in the culinary field and their excellent attendance.
According to the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, “[a]t the heart of the Eugene economy are the homegrown small and medium-sized businesses. Most of Eugene’s businesses employ fewer than 20 workers. From specialty retail shops to financial service firms, from management consultancies to ethnic groceries, Eugene’s small business community is diverse, active, thriving and well-supported. Including sole proprietorships and limited partnerships, there are more than 10,000 businesses in and around Eugene.” Eugene/Springfield’s population has grown 3.95% on average since 1998 and this new growth has meant new businesses and expanding opportunities for catering companies who can serve these businesses’ needs.
Catering For Kids anticipates that Eugene/Springfield businesses have unmet demand for catered lunch meetings and other events. And unlike other restaurant and food-related businesses, business to business catering is not as cyclical as business to consumer catering. Businesses continue to have lunch meetings and employees who wish to purchase their lunches year round. In order to gain some insight into the market size and demand, we undertook some limited market research. An email survey was sent to 144 Lane County nonprofit organizations that requested their current or future demand for catering services and their interest in patronizing a nonprofit catering business. We received many responses like the ones that follow.
“I think that this is a great idea and could be a good resource for the community. Springfield/Eugene Habitat for Humanity does not host many lunchtime meetings, however there is a group of about 13 or 14 Executive Directors of Habitat affiliates that meet here about every three months that might use your service.” – Susan Brown, Volunteer Coordinator, Eugene/Springfield Habitat for Humanity
“…if we do have an event that we need catering we will call your program first. We have a policy of using nonprofit organizations for services first.” – Bob Smith, Exec Dir, Pacific Youth Corps of Oregon
“Our needs for catering are not very large, maybe a few times a year. However, you may contact me to discuss the program. My son attends Chambers School and I would welcome hearing more details.” – Mark West, Lane County Agricultural Museum
“We do have General Membership Meetings where we require a venue for 50 to 100 people. I’m not involved with arranging the meetings but do know that our organization is in need of a place to meet where food and beer can be served. Perhaps you will hear from Dave – I think the first meeting is usually in October.” – Emily, Graduate Teaching Federation Office
A number of other caterers offer boxed lunches for business clients. However, none of these businesses specialize in serving the nonprofit sector, nor are they themselves a nonprofit that benefits the local community. Catering For Kids will specialize in developing excellent relationships with its nonprofit clientele. We believe that this unique position, combined with competitively priced, fresh, high-quality meals will set Catering For Kids apart as the premier caterer for the Lane County nonprofit sector.
Catering For Kids is dedicated to providing at-risk youth with an opportunity to gain work experience and transferable skills by providing our customers with healthy, homemade foods and excellent service at reasonable prices. Employees of Catering For Kids will be students who are enrolled in the culinary arts program at the Chambers School and Career Center and are interested in gaining work experience in the restaurant and food services industry. The experiences the students have while participating in this program will assist them in making the transition from school to work and will allow them to develop entrepreneurial skills that will be transferable to any job in the future.
The following benchmark chart indicates our key financial indicators for the first three years. We foresee slow but steady growth in demand for our services and consequent increase in operating expenses. During year one, Catering For Kids will serve its internal market only, as we ramp up to serving the external market in year two.
Financial Highlights by Year
One of our revenue lines is grant funding, $15,000 annually. And we need and anticipate donations of $2,000 per month, plus some revenue from fees for lunches and event catering.