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    Gingerbread Houses a Sweet Treat at Salvation Army's Hospitality House Shelter

    Jessica Davis, 8, of San Bernardino, looks at some of the gingerbread houses that had just been donated to the Salvation Army. Jessica had come to the Salvation Army with her grandmother on the day the Job Corps visited to volunteer, as it was busy then creating holiday gift packages for those less fortunate.

    Gingerbread house donated by Inland Empire Job Corps.

    Inland Empire Job Corps students, including Janna Maples, Theo Rodriguez and Jorge Galdanez, foreground baked gingerbread houses before Christmas and donated seven of them to the Salvation Army Corps of San Bernardino.

    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) The hot daily meal and warm beds at The Salvation Army’s Hospitality House always attract up to 96 homeless people, but for a short time before Christmas things were even sweeter.
    On Thursday, Dec. 18, the guests had seven gingerbread houses to enjoy, courtesy of the culinary arts students at the Inland Empire Job Corps. These houses made festive decorations throughout most of that day, but were on the menu for desert that night.
    “The kids are going to love these,” Hospitality House Director Roosevelt Carroll said after the Job Corps delivered their sweet creations. “It’s a blessing for them to even see a gingerbread house. Then they will eat them piece by piece.”
    Even if they knew their creations would be quickly eaten, baking and decorating these and 13 other gingerbread houses were a labor of love for the young people enrolled in the Job Corps Home Inspector program. After all, if it weren’t for the federally funded training program that also gives these 16- to 24-year-olds a place to live, many of them would be struggling too.
    “What we did makes us feel good,” said Theo Rodriguez, one of the student bakers.
    “We’re giving to people who need help more than we do,” said another baker, Jorge Galdanez.
    Job Corps also gave gingerbread houses to Maple House, a residential program in
    San Bernardino for people recovering from substance abuse and their children.
    “This definitely was a lot of work,” said Monica Zapata. “But it was a wonderful experience.”
    The students spent anywhere from two days to a week cutting templates for the walls of the gingerbread houses, baking, and decorating them. They worked under the guidance of Job Corps Instructor Michael Gurd, who is like a father to many of them.
    “Chef Michael is my father,” said Aric Ianni. “I grew up without a dad, so he has been that role model for me.”
    Job Corps’ culinary students, including the 10 who came to The Salvation Army, plan on careers as chefs in restaurants, on cruise ships and as caterers. They’re learning the basics of commercial food preparation in the San Bernardino program and can obtain advanced training at another Job Corps program in San Francisco if they choose.
    About the Salvation Army San Bernardino Corps
    The Salvation Army may be able to provide emergency services including food; lodging for homeless or displaced families; clothing and furniture; assistance with rent or mortgage and transportation when funds are available. The Salvation Army Team Radio Network assists rescue workers and evacuees in such disasters as fires. See Windows and doors Hamilton
    The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church, and also offers evangelical programs for boys, girls and adults. One of the largest charitable and international service organizations in the world, The Salvation Army has been in existence since 1865 and in San Bernardino since 1887, supporting those in need without discrimination. Donations may always be made online at www.salvationarmyusa.org or by calling 1-(800)-SAL-ARMY.

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