Don’t want to cook a big meal? Second Harvest of Central Florida can cater your holiday

Money raised through Catering for Good goes into Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program

Photo of Second Harvest's Culinary Training Program (Costa Communications)

The holidays are fast approaching and, for many, that means lots of food and family — which also means lots of cooking.

For those who do not want to spend their whole holiday working over a hot stove, Second Harvest of Central Florida’s Catering for Good program is prepared to cater your family dinner or holiday party.


“We have a full-service from scratch catering department and we have a great holiday menu that is out,” said Nancy Brumbaugh, vice president of food service for Second Harvest. “It’s made here in our Darden Foundation Community Kitchen by our talented chefs. And you can pick that up and warm it up at home and enjoy your holiday with your family instead of spending it in the kitchen.”

All of the money raised through the Catering for Good program goes back into Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, which offers free training for unemployed or under-employed individuals — giving them experience and job placement inside commercial kitchens in Central Florida.

“We’ve just had great success with that program. It truly is life-changing for our students,” Brumbaugh said.

Students from the program also help in preparing the catering orders filled by Catering for Good, though a team of seven trained chefs are in charge of the final food preparation.

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“It also offers our students the experience to work in a catering department and they do that when they reach to tier three of our programs. So they’ve already learned all the basics of cookery,” Brumbaugh said. “It’s important that they have the knowledge of how a catering company works and it also gives me the experience of the push, the urgency that you need and real-world experience when you get into food service.”

Thanksgiving orders need to be made by Nov. 17 — with pick-up at 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando on Nov. 24. Christmas orders must be placed by Dec. 16 and New Year’s orders placed by Dec. 23.

Brumbaugh said Second Harvest has been hit by the supply chain issues and inflation that are plaguing much of the food service industry. However, the charity has worked to keep the cost to customers affordable.

“We kept our catering pretty comparable to last year’s prices,” she said. “The only thing that went up significantly this year was the prime rib dinner, but that’s because red meat has almost tripled in price. So I think our catering prices are still below the average Orlando caterer prices — so we’re a great value.”

Brumbaugh added that none of the food donated to Second Harvest to serve the community is used by Catering for Good.

“We use no donated product and our catering departments or our social enterprises. (The products used in catering) are all sourced through local distributors and vendors and we let the donations that come into the food bank go out to our feeding partners in the community,” she said.

The holiday catering menu can be found below:

In addition to Catering for Good — which also operates year-round, not just during the holidays — the culinary training program also receives funding through sales of products sold under Second Harvest’s A Spoon Full of Hope product line.

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“It has a delicious tomato basil soup that was developed by one of our chefs. We also have three local honeys that are available and we have delicious shortbread cookies that are also made in-house by our chefs and some of our graduate students help prepare these cookies,” Brumbaugh said.

Second Harvest is also selling holiday gift sets with items from the A Spoon Full of Hope product line. Those can be found by clicking here.

A Spoon Full of Hope products available for sale (Costa Communications)

Brumbaugh added that Second Harvest has seen “great community support” throughout the pandemic which has been “heightened now by the holiday season.”

“Our wonderful community can continue to support us and they can support us by doing an online food drive. They can volunteer if they have the opportunity to volunteer and, of course, monetary donations are the best way to support us taking care of our community during the holiday season,” she said.

Links to volunteer or donate can be found by clicking here.

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About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.