RPAL toasts to development of new culinary center

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RPAL toasts to development of new culinary center
All photos by Mike Kinney.

By Mike Kinney

The Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL) held a ceremony on Wednesday to celebrate development of a state-of-the-art Josh & Elaina Genser Culinary Center, which is slated to open at RPAL headquarters at 2200 Macdonald Ave. on Sept. 1.

The culinary center will teach 50 youth annually about the world of food, building real-world knowledge and skills. It will boast professional cooking equipment, an open class room with tables with built-in technologies for cooking, and a large screen TV for instruction. The center will host a diverse curriculum educating youth on where food comes from, about processed foods, agricultural systems, food preparation, food safety, health and nutrition and fun cooking activities, according to RPAL. Read more about the new center in our earlier report here.

At Wednesday’s ceremony, RPAL Board President Jerry Feagley welcomed the many invited guests the symbolic launch. The center is named in honor of the late Josh Genser, who was highly active in local community organizations inlcuding RPAL.

“Josh was such a wonderful, giving and highly intelligent person that could have been a success anywhere in the world, but he wanted to come back to Richmond to make it a better place for his family and the entire community of Richmond,” said local business owner of M. A. Hays John Ziesenhenne, an honored guest of the event.

Ziesenhenne noted how Genser’s wife Elaina contributed $100,000 of her own family funds toward building the culinary center.

For the commencement ceremony, RPAL Executive Director Larry Lewis presented Elaina, Feagley, Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez and one of the RPAL youth member Makenzie Young with commemorative demolition hammers. They used the hammers to symbolically break down a part of the wall to the space where the Culinary Club kitchen will be housed.

RPAL is a nonprofit founded in 1982 that offers a variety of programming aimed to support young people holistically, and to help them recognize their greatest potential and achieve longterm success. For more information, visit RPAL’s website here.