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Dandelion Eatery to help Mainstay clients

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows will cut the ribbon and be the very first customer for the new Dandelion Eatery at 127 Fifth Avenue West on Friday.

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The Dandelion is part of a new job training program created by Mainstay Inc. to support survivors of domestic violence as they become self-sufficient.

Dandelion will be a local, green eatery committed to helping our clients find and secure lasting employment. The Dandelion will provide the venue for Mainstay clients to build job skills and experience in the area of food service and preparation.

The Dandelion will focus on providing locally grown fresh, seasonal food, locally made arts and other goods in a downtown location one block from Main Street.

As a job creation program, Mainstay's case managers work hand-in-hand with clients and utilize the Dandelion to provide hands-on, on-the-job training to women affected by domestic violence. Clients will also have the opportunity to obtain their ServeSafe Certification and Restaurant Server Training through Blue Ridge Community College as well as participate in internships and professional mentorships. Mainstay's vision of The Dandelion is that it will reach out into the community as a collaborative effort between local business and Mainstay to help our clients how to be successful in the workforce.

Mainstay operates one of the largest domestic violence shelters in Western North Carolina, with 35 beds and several cribs, and continues to stay at capacity during the past three years. However, Mainstay's services extend far beyond sheltering to include counseling for women and children, case management, support groups, court advocacy, and anger management classes. The new venture will be an extension of Mainstay's goals.