Baking—Training for Life

The group is called Friendship Circle of Michigan. It is a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide an opportunity for individuals with special needs to become contributing members of society.

Dear Readers, if you had a chance to peruse Miss NiNi’s previous week’s chat, you will recall that I had focused on the duo of food and friendship and the naturally occurring positive relationships that develop when we give of our hearts and hands.  

In my internet research about those topics, I had innocently wandered to the blog http://www.friendshipcircle.org. and was overcome with fascination.

I meandered further into the site and soon discovered that a very unique focus of this group was the creation of Friendship Bakery. Miss NiNi is always interested in learning about a bakery’s operation and the products it creates. I aimed to learn more about this one!

Dozens of loaves of Challah Bread—pronounced “Halla”—a traditional Jewish braided bread that contains a large number of eggs along with flour, water, sugar, yeast, and salt–are baked weekly in a commercial bakery environment to meet the local growing demand for this beautiful braided bread.

The Birth of an Idea

How did the idea of Friendship Bakery begin, Dear Readers? According to a source from their website, when Friendship Bakery began, it was seen as a respite for the 24/7 care that families of special needs children require.

What is the target group, Dear Readers? Young adults with special needs who do not require a one-on-one volunteer.

What is the focus? The focus is on vocational training, team work, developing social skills, and contributing to society. Awesome goals, wouldn’t you say?!

The heartbeat of Friendship Bakery lies within its young-adult trainees who are paid employees. Various ranges of job-coaching support and vocational training skills are offered in the setting of a professional kitchen.

As with Miss NiNi and her team, these young trainees are responsible for creating a baked product with their hands and then meeting time and order demands for that product.

A Link to the Community

Friendship Bakery’s Challah bread is sold into their community as are Miss NiNi’s desserts sold at Miss NiNi’s Desserterie. Miss NiNi attests to the fact that my team of bakers has as many smiles and “hugs” of personal satisfaction in the production of a beautiful baked product as do these young bakers at Friendship Bakery. Upturned corners of llips, twinkling eyes, and personal satisfaction go hand in hand with creative baking talents when recognized by others! Have you noticed that happening to you when you bake, Dear Readers?

One of the young Friendship Bakery trainees was interviewed and had such joy in his voice when briefly explaining why he enjoyed being a part of Friendship Bakery. “Knowing that I’m a good cook” was his perfectly phrased reply.

Yes, siree, Dear Readers! Flour, sugar, butter and additional ingredients along with an oven’s heat are more than ingredients occupying shelves and an appliance occupying space. No matter what your age or abilities, with training, they become the catalysts to the “kudos” of life!

For more information or to donate to the nonprofit, Friendship Circle of Michigan, click on the website as noted above.