When Esmeralda Molinar first became a volunteer at Food for Life Supreme Restaurant, she didn’t expect to be there for 15 years. Yet, that’s exactly what happened when she became their national spokesperson and public relations manager. Molinar, who previously worked as a district manager for a retail companys, could not resist the opportunity, thanks to the organization’s innovative approach to education and the restaurant business.
Food for Life Supreme Restaurant was borne out of The University of the Art and Logistics of Civilization, a private school in Kansas City, Kan. The school founded Food for Life Supreme Restaurant as an extension of its alternative educational system to teach students how to independently produce food, clothing and shelter. Now Molinar and staff have helped to inspire over 700 adults and youth to volunteer their time and services to assist in the growth and development of inner-city communities. These volunteers receive room and board and educational/vocational training at their eight restaurant locations in New York, Atlanta and Newark, N.J.
Rolling out spoke with Molinar about how the organization’s educational design inspired her to volunteer, what they look for in participants, why they decline government funds and more.
How did education help you in your career?
My major in college was communications, and that led me to Food for Life Supreme. I volunteered and experienced the program and how it fosters education to teach us how to produce our own food, clothing and shelter. That education let me know that I was participating in something that was bringing about positive change in the community.
How do you determine if someone is a good fit for your organization?
They must have the will or the energy level to want to participate to bring about a positive change. They have to be eager to experience something new and to bring positive change that we all benefit from. So we advertise, sponsor youth programs, host health fairs and go to public schools to recruit in the community.
What’s unusual about your managerial style?
What’s unusual is that I am very hands-on. I don’t just work with everyone here, I am part of it and that influences my decision-making. … I’m dedicated to what I experienced in this program. I’m a mother of six children and they are all part of the program. So I am seeing the benefits.
What do you rely on for making major decisions?
I look at all of the facts and what I’m looking to achieve as far as the outcome. It has to benefit the whole. For example, we don’t receive any government assistance. We have applied but they want to change the way we operate. We have done this for over 15 years and believe that this system for education is productive and good for the whole community.
What do you eat for breakfast?
I start my day with cup of organic Food for Life Supreme bio coffee. Then once I start the body by waking it up in a slow manner, I have a piece of fresh fruit like a pear or an apple.