Each Thursday at noon in Morton, the local Rotary Club gathers to hear interesting speakers and enjoy a delicious lunch. That lunch does so much more than satisfy the hunger pangs of a 100+ Rotarians. Its caterer, Taste of TCRC, teaches employable skills in the food service industry to individuals with disabilities.
In 2012, the Tazewell County Resource Center (TCRC) applied for a DCEO grant to remodel the kitchen at their Tremont facility. They were awarded a $75,000 grant and began imagining the future. Along with the updated kitchen, TCRC plants a large garden to provide fresh, farm-to-table produce for the catering business. The vegetables that are not used in cooking are then sold at local farmer’s markets.
One goal of TCRC is to provide services that promote independence and self-sufficiency to strengthen individuals and families. The Taste of TCRC fits perfectly into that purpose. While being paid a meaningful wage, these individuals are learning skills that allow them to build their resumes and get jobs in the community. Local restaurants and school cafeterias are two examples of where they land jobs locally.
Taste of TCRC also has a food cart in downtown Peoria throughout the summer months. Awesome pulled pork sandwiches, seafood salad and hamburgers allow the food cart to be self-sustaining while meeting a need in Peoria. TCRC also provides food sales in downtown Pekin on Mondays and Fridays through summer.
In addition, the food program has their own line of dips, soup mixes, party pretzel mix and even dog treats. Jamie Durdel, president and CEO, and Kelly Meals, director of food services, oversee these wonderful services.
The Tazewell County Resources Center’s food service program is only one of 25 different programs provided by the agency. Another example is the custodial services they provide afterhours for the Tazewell County Courthouse and McKenzie Building. Additionally, the Business Services arm provides employment and vocational training for adults with developmental disabilities in a wide variety of areas.
Taste of TCRC provides catering services to a number of organizations, in addition to the Morton Rotary. I have attended many functions where they provided the food, and I have never left disappointed or hungry. As you plan your next event, consider Taste of TCRC and the mission they are accomplishing of giving individuals employable skills while taking care of those empty stomachs. PM