Bakery employs low-income people with disabilities

November 27, 2011 6:49:07 AM PST
Got a sweet tooth and a big heart? Sweet Miss Giving's could be the answer.

It's an unique operation that is creating jobs for low-income people with disabilities and supports a not-for-profit agency.

Opened three years ago, Sweet Miss Giving's is the brainchild of Rev. Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House.

"We do a lot of corporate catering. We also have a trucks that travel through the city," said Rev. Sloan. "We sell at the French market. We got our own booth at the French market, and then a big part of our sales every year is our holiday gifting. This is our Art Smith box he's designed for us, a huge partner that goes directly to charity. So, it's also a tax write off."

The profit from the bakery goes to Chicago House, the first providers of AIDS housing in the Midwest.

"One hundred percent of the profits go back to Chicago House. It's a double win if you order from Sweet Miss Giving's," said Sloan.

In 2001, Chicago House started a employment training program. When Sweet Miss Giving's opened, they were able to create a pathway of job training in the area of baking.

All of the workers have to participate in a four-week, unpaid training session, which is followed by a six-month paid internship.

"Most of the people in the transitional jobs program at Sweet Miss Giving's are both formerly homeless as well as effected with disabilities," Sloan said.

"Over 80 percent of the people who graduate out of our transitional job program , the internship program, get placed in jobs after the leave here," added Sloan.

James Bledsoe, 33, works at Sweet Miss Giving's bakery.

"I've been involved with Chicago house for almost two years. I started off as an intern, and now I am a full-time baker here," he said.

Bledsoe was referred to Chicago House by a case worker.

" I was having a really hard time, and this has always been my career. This has always been my passion. I spent some time in savory," said Bledsoe. "I've worked in many other kitchens for years, and my mom had a restaurant, and it's my heart."

So, if you are looking for some decadent baked goods for your holiday events while supporting a not-for-profit organization, you might want to try Sweet Miss Giving's.

For more information about Sweet Miss Giving's and the Chicago House employment program, visit www.sweetmissgivings.com.


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