Flora originally came to the Damiano Center through the Senior Community Service Employment Program at the Duluth Workforce Center. She was hired as a cook in 2011 after completing the program. She was eventually promoted to Lead Cook, and then to Community Kitchen Manager, which is her role today. She says that Damiano is important because it "helps a lot of people in need. And I think people enjoy coming here and getting things that they can't afford."
She says that, "It motivates me to know that I'm helping the community. And I love doing my job, and I enjoy my co-workers and the people who come into the Damiano, real friendly lovely people."
Flora is still leading the effort to feed our community, but much of her work has changed due to the COVID-19 situation and providing bagged meals instead of hot meals in the dining room. She says: "I still have the same co-workers. And I don't get to see the people as much as I used to because I'm not outside. But I'm still making sure they eat well...and I try to get them something special every now and then. But since COVID, you can't enjoy the guests like you used to, so that changed a lot. And I don't get to cook as often."
For those who have never visited Damiano, Flora wants them to know: "We welcome people. And we help people in difficult situations...if we can't help them, we refer them to other places. And I think they would just enjoy knowing all the different programs. A lot of people think it's just a place to eat. So once they get here and you introduce them to all the other programs, I think they really see we're out to help the community."
Flora misses cooking and seeing the guests right now, but in spite of that she says, "I just enjoy coming here."