Bridge Bread during the Pandemic

I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down – Chumbawamba 1997

Bridge Bread Bakery is a non-profit social enterprise that provides supportive employment to people without safe and stable housing. Through meaningful work they become valued, contributing members of our community.

Bridge Bread Bakery had a diversified distribution and sales strategy:

  • We sold our products on consignment at four dozen area churches
  • Our food truck sold at up to five events a week (Some events in bad weather were ‘pop-ups’ inside)
  • We were very popular at the Tower Grover Farmers’ Market (The Winter Market was inside)
  • The Chase Park-Plaza Hotel bought our dinner rolls for banquets and other events
  • Our shop on Cherokee offered dine-in and take-out service
  • Several restaurants and coffee shops bought our products to sell to their customers

The pandemic ended every single sales channel. We closed our retail bake shop on Cherokee. Customers can still use the online store to place an order for curbside pickup by appointment at the shop.

We made wholesome bread and other baked goods and that makes us an ‘essential business’, but we need customers for our products to keep our Bakers employed and housed.

We re-invented ourselves with two strategies and a lot of help from our supporters:

  • We already had a ‘Free Bread Program’ where generous donors provide the funding for us to make fresh sliced sandwich bread that we give to local food pantries. With the increased needs at the pantries, we asked for donations to dramatically ramp up this program and our supporters provided generous funding. We are making over 1,000 loaves a week for this program.
  • Our church customers still wanted their Bridge Bread, but needed to stay safe, so we started ‘Bridge Bread Delivery’ with an online store and convenient, safe home delivery. In our first week, we had 94 orders for a total of over $2,000 in sales.

Thank you to our donors that made the Free Bread Program possible and thank you to the customers that made Bridge Bread Delivery a success.

We will get through this.