Envision Unlimited opens commercial kitchen to create career opportunities

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The newest addition to one Chicago nonprofit organization is giving adults with disabilities career options in the culinary arts.

Envision Unlimited provides programs for people with disabilities. Mark McHugh, Envision Unlimited's President and CEO, said the organization's new commercial kitchen in Logan Square gives local businesses a chance to pair with Envision clients, help with food prep, and other kitchen needs.

"The kitchen is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to grow their business, and as they grew their business they were able to hire employees," McHugh said. "We have readymade, trained members to be there employees.

Hallie Schwartz is the owner of Sweet Shot Cookies, a cookie company specializing in infused cookies. She has been using the kitchen since it opened in April, and has worked with clients like Kasandra Murry.

"It's really nice to have clients come in and build relationships with them on a friendship level and on a work level as well," Schwartz said.

Schwartz said choosing the commercial kitchen at Envision Unlimited and working with Kasandra is about more than just her business, it's about making a difference.

"It will give you kind of that good feeling when you're doing your job. Not only are you doing your job making money and doing well for yourself, but you're working with other people," Schwartz said. "It's really nice at the end of the day when clients are asking me for these recopies that they want to be doing this at home. So you're making a difference and it's really nice."

Sweet Shot Cookies plans to open a location in Logan Square and hire members to work in the new space, which is the ultimate goal for the commercial kitchen.

"The goal is to continue to grow every month, month over month," McHugh said. "To continue to get more entrepreneurs to use our kitchen and most importantly continue grow the number of members who get jobs with those entrepreneurs."
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