Aspiring police officers step into the kitchen to help those in need

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Sunday, September 2, 2018
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Aspiring police officers step into the kitchen to help those in need. Brian Taff reports during Action News at 6 a.m. on September 2, 2018.

CAMDEN, N.J. (WPVI) -- Some children in Camden County stepped into the kitchen to help fill the stomachs of people in need.

It's a rewarding feeling for boys and girls dreaming of a career in law enforcement.

The Camden County Police Department's Blue Knights Explorers Program offers youth the chance to learn about law enforcement.

"It's an eight-week program that the youth come into during the summer. They learn about all the functions of our police department in the Camden County Police Department," says Brenda Santiago, a detective for the Camden County Police Department.

As part of the program, the students volunteered their time at the Cathedral Kitchen preparing meals for the homeless.

"They were excited when they heard they were going to come here. They really do like service projects," says Santiago.

"Some people need help more than others, and I feel that these people need help," says Carmine Jackson, a volunteer in the Blue Knights Program.

"Not everyone has the opportunity to just wake up in the morning and make something to eat or have lunch, breakfast and dinner," says Jahniyah Farrington.

"It makes me feel good because I know someone is eating dinner tonight," says Jackson.

And Executive Chef Johnathan Jernigan was there to show them the ropes.

"They are shucking corn for tonight's dinner, and they are also cutting pineapple slices for dinner tonight. So they are giving me a little break actually," Jernigan said.

"It's really nice having young people here working in the kitchen. This dining room will serve 350 people tonight, so their hour worth of work makes sure that 350 people have dinner this evening," says the Cathedral Kitchen's Executive Director, Karen Talaricco.

The program is in its third year, and is crafted to show the aspiring police officers the importance of community service.

"They get to learn how to cook, and prepare things for other people," says Santiago. "Any way they can help they are certainly responsive and they were more than excited to come out here."

"I think it's great that young people can get involved and are giving back to their community, and this is a great way for them to do it," Talaricco says.

"The feeling is like you can't explain it, but it just does make you feel happy," Farrington says.


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