MANCHESTER, N.H. —Students will be cooking for Gov. Maggie Hassan and trying to pave the way for their careers Thursday.

A portion of the meal at the governor’s inauguration party will be made by people in a program run by the New Hampshire Food Bank.

Students in the food bank’s Recipe for Success program will prepare hors d’oeuvres for guests at a Statehouse open house. Food bank employees said although cooking for the governor and her guests might be challenging, the tougher task is starting fresh with a new career.

“I get a tremendous amount of joy out of what we do,” Jayson McCarter said. “Not only for our students, but also for those around the community that we serve who need a hot meal somewhere.”

McCarter is the head of the Recipe for Success school, a free culinary training program that gives down-on-their-luck New Hampshire residents a leg up.

Students will cook purple vegetable pancakes and serve them to the governor and her guests.

“We make anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 meals up here every week with our student body, and that is their hands-on skills,” McCarter said. “We’re trying to make them into efficient employees for folks in the hospitality industry.”

Recipe for Success has been cooking hot meals for people in need for seven years. Bruce Wilson, director of the food bank, said 60 percent to 70 percent of school graduates have found full-time work in food services.

“We teach life skills, job skills, employment skills to give them a better opportunity to break the cycle and get them away from the emergency food system,” Wilson said. “The winter months are very critical to those that we serve. It gets down to do I eat or heat my home, and it’s going to be sub-zero so that’s a big decision for families to make.”

Hassan and the New Hampshire Food Bank will also hold a canned food drive at the inaugural party. Guests are asked to bring protein-packed non-perishable food such as peanut butter, tuna and soup.

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Stephanie Woods