Bakery helps homeless gain employment

CHICAGO They often have little training and feel trapped by their circumstances. But a new bakery in Chicago will provide hope and a job and a paycheck for some of the homeless.

Sweet Miss Giving's bakery, not-for-profit, provides job placement and supervision for the bakery's staff - formerly homeless adults with disabilities who need the work experience to get back on their feet.

"The bakery goods are very good. I attest to that. And I hope everyone sends the word out so that we can get more business for them," said Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

The central kitchen, located in Goose Island, is the brainchild of the Rev. Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House. Sloan says 50 percent of the profits from the bakery will go to help homeless and disabled Chicagoans. He says the bakery has given the staff a new lease on life.

"They thought they would never work again," Sloan said. "Or a lot of times, they've spent their lives out on the streets hustling and have actually never worked. And they're able to do that again."

Recent graduate and baker Stanley Longbey was homeless and says life looked bleak.

"It made a new beginning for me," he said. "You just don't know; it's very, very touching to me."

Nichelle McClinton spent her life in foster care and homeless. She now has her own apartment and has found a new family at the bakery. She works as a packager.

"I have learned a lot from Sweet Miss Giving's," she said.

Sweet Miss Giving's baker Mary Pelps says she now has a life.

"It makes me feel human," she said. "It makes me feel alive to know that somebody believes in me."

Starting on Nov. 1, the Miss Giving's staff will provide delicious breakfast pastries and sweets for meetings, galas and events.

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