The culinary kitchen at the Institute of Technology located in Clovis has been busy these last few years changing lives.

Most of the women in the kitchen are involved in St. Francis Homeless Project which offers a baking program that teaches work skills in a very unusual setting. The women make dog treats which are made in the kitchen and sold at over 121 retail locations.

Today, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno supporting the St. Francis Homeless Project by donating a 50-thousand dollar check to help these women continue to grow and learn skills that will be applied in the workforce.

The money came from a grant as part of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development from Washington D.C.

“We ask people our catholic people all over the country every year to contribute for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development an than it’s dispersed by the bishops of the United States all over this country, Catholic Bishop Joseph V. Brennan said. “It does absolutely wonderful hands on support for things like this.”

CEO and Founder of St. Francis Homeless Project Sandra Kaye said many success stories have come out of this kitchen.

“Our goal is to give them second chances and to help them to learn work skills and to get them employed and we’ve been doing a very good job of that for nine years,” Kaye said.

She said 87 percent of the women are employed.

Kaye said with this grant money she’ll be able to expand the program giving more women opportunities to change their lives.

“We plan to use most of the $50,000 to employ more people. We’re actually opening a second kitchen here at IOT,” she said.

Most of the women all have something in common, they are all in recovery, overcoming addictions.

Jessica Ramirez is a graduate of the St. Francis Homeless project. She just received her high school diploma and will begin taking classes at Fresno City College next week.

She said the program have given her more confidence in herself.

“I has a car again. I have three little girls and I know I need to make something of my life for them,” Ramirez said.