In October of 2017, Bridge Bread moved into the historic Vandora Theatre building at 2639 Cherokee Street, St. Louis, MO 63118. The building serves not only as Bridge Bread’s bakery, but also as a retail and dining space for the community to purchase and enjoy our baked goods. Items available for purchase include breads, cinnamon rolls, bagels, cake, cookies, and …
Bridge Bread Bakery is a non-profit social enterprise in St. Louis, MO that provides supportive employment to people without safe and stable housing. Through meaningful work they become valued, contributing members of our community.
Founded in 2011 by Fred Domke, Bridge Bread is a bakery with heart. We employ hardworking individuals who are experiencing homelessness and provide them with marketable skills and reliable employment. We believe that earning a proper wage is fundamental to one’s self-worth, dignity, and self-sufficiency. Our bakers learn the craft and gain employment, while the community gets the chance to enjoy delicious baked goods. We call that a win-win.
There are few, if any, opportunities for people experiencing homelessness to be productively employed. This program accepts them as they are and allows them to participate with minimal training and minimal commitment. After training and establishing a positive work record, our workers become more employable and some will move on to more traditional jobs. This will leave room for new entrants into our venture. Bridge Bread is like a doorway — a doorway to a more substantial future.
Bridge Bread is a unique and successful social enterprise built on 3 key factors:
- About 75¢ out of every dollar generated from the sales of Bridge Bread goes to workers’ compensation. With the other quarter covering the cost of ingredients.
- Because bread is a consumable, customers keep coming back week after week to buy more bread.
- Bread Baking is a valuable trade skill that provides a sustainable source of income for homeless and out-of-work individuals.
The poor and homeless will always be with us. However, collectively we have the power to make a difference and lessen the severity of homelessness. Helping a homeless and out-of-work person find a way to return to leading a productive life and gain a sense of dignity in the process is right and just. We are our brother’s keeper and lending a hand to the least and the lost is the responsibility of us all. Together we can make a difference one life at a time.
We encourage the community to get involved by buying our products online, at our Bake Shop, or from our mobile food truck, volunteering with our organization, distributing products through your church, business, or restaurant, and telling others about the work of Bridge Bread. Our (formerly) homeless Bakers are the only paid employees of Bridge Bread. They make bread and sweet rolls and the proceeds pay their wages and cover the cost of ingredients. Donations cover rent, utilities, and insurance.