A local non-profit is providing jobs for people with disabilities.
It’s never a dull moment in the kitchen of West River Produce .
“I learn how to roll up the dough and put the fruit on it,” said Delynn Schmidt, Worker at West River Produce.
Each day workers make and prepare fresh food orders.
“I am working here until I find a job in a restaurant and stuff like that,” said Schmidt.
35- year- old Delynn Schmidt always wanted to work in the restaurant business, and here at West River Produce she gets that chance.
It’s a place they focus on her abilities not disabilities.
“They are people. They are human beings and they have the same goals and desires as people who do not have disabilities. They want to work, they want to have a purpose, they want to earn money, they want to be able to buy things on their own things,” said Laura Kourajian, Vice President of Community Services.
It’s just that sometimes they may need a little help and support. West River Produce is a pre-vocational food program offered through HIT.
December is the busiest time of year here at West River Produce. Workers make up to 30 to 40 trays a day, ranging from fruit trays, veggie trays and even box lunches. They all say it is worth the time and effort.
“They learn how to come to work on time, how to work with others and take directions from supervisors. Our goal is to get them ready for the workforce,” said Kourajian.
The program started over 20 years ago. It is solely funded by the orders they get, and that money pays for rent, products, and staff.
“Team work makes the dream work. That is our motto here in the kitchen,” said Schmidt.
West River Produce only deliver and distribute products in Bismarck, Mandan and Lincoln area.
They are done with Christmas orders and are accepting New Years orders.
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