On the Rise Bakery
By Tom Stankard
Founded in 1929 by Capuchin friars Solanus Casey and Herman Buss, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen is a human service organization inspired by the great St. Francis of Assisi that serves the poor people of Detroit by catering to their most basic needs.
The soup kitchen prides itself on offering encouragement, direction and material assistance to help promote growth and independence (http://cskdetroit.org/bakery).
Roughly six years ago, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen started the ROPE program (Reaching Our Potential Everyday). The ministry assists a group of CSK guests who have been either incarcerated or completed a substance abuse program and are eager to get off on the right foot.
ROPE is a residential bakers’ training program that teaches baking skills while simultaneously providing a safe and supportive environment for everyone allowing them to regain their lives.
Since the program started back in April 2006, ROPE has been selling their baked goods at churches around the metro Detroit area. Thanks to the support from their loyal customers, ROPE is able to provide housing, training, counseling and other various services to everyone who enters the program.
Their crowning achievement so far is the opening of “On the Rise Bakery” on 6110 McClellan close to the intersection of Gratiot and I 94. The Bakery started out using Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s facilities during off hours and gradually became a stand-alone bakery.
On the Rise Bakery has many delicious baked goods on their menu including fresh breads and homemade pies like Grandma used to make. Every purchase you make helps support the possibility of supportive housing training counseling services, educational opportunities, and self help programs.
The bakery employs men and volunteers who are “on the rise” in their personal lives, in their new baking talents and in their abilities to change other persons’ lives.
All trainees in their residency year, agree to following: working 25 hours per week at the bakery and acquiring baking skills; continuing to find stability in their recovery through AA/NA meeting, in house study and independent life; obtaining a high school diploma equivalent; becoming a productive member of society by volunteering; and live by five values of the ROPE program (sobriety, humility, spirituality, brotherhood/sisterhood and generosity).
Volunteers are the heart and soul of the bakery. Many volunteers join the staff frying, baking, packaging and readying the baked goods for the Sunday parish sales. Employees said volunteers are the most valuable assets of the On the Rise Bakery.
“We didn’t have a lot of caring in our lives. We needed to process and understand healthy relationships. There is a lot of warmth and caring with the volunteers. We have a real connection with these people. It rubs off being with the volunteers. We are seeing strong family values for the first time in our lives,” said Ed Collins, crew leader and former prisoner (http://cskdetroit.org/bakery).
Capuchin friar Ray Stadmeyer said working at the bakery is more than just about baking, it’s about learning healthy relationships. “These guys have had tough lives. They have faced hard, hard struggles that are difficult for the average person to imagine. For most of these guys, this baking program is their first real opportunity to succeed.” (http://cskdetroit.org/bakery).
On the Rise Bakery thanks you for allowing them into your community and asks that you keep them in your prayers.
For more information about “On the Rise Bakery” click on their website at http://cskdetroit.org/bakery, or drop them a line at 313-922-8510.