Breakout Bakery

  • Print

breakout picSt. Johnsbury- Darryll rudy and Barbara Edelman have been in town for over a year, putting in everything they have to make food worx enterprises break out bakery come to life. "you know what, i am 75 years old and this is it for me. This is where my heart is and come hell or high water, we are going ot make this happen", said rudy, food Worx' executive director.

According to their website, "the mission of Foodworx enterprises, a non-profit organization, is to enable formerly incarcerated persons to successfully reenter society, supported by sustainable employment. We accomplish this mission through four integrated programs: Bakery/culinary arts training, awake to work and life self-awareness program, basic needs support services, family/community integrated support & services. Applicants are referred to Foodworx enterprises by local and regional agencies and the vt state department of corrections. Foodworx enterprises training and services are available at no cost to participants."

Rudy is model for the non-profit organization based off what a social enterprise is. According to social enterprise alliance, "the concept of a social enterprise has been evolving rapidly in recent years and increasingly blurs the lines of the traditional business, government, and non-profit sectors in hopes of creating a self sufficient organizations that gives back to the community." rudy adds,"so the model to me made sense because you're not always relying on other peoples donations and grants from the state and the county or the city."

This model does come with it challenges though, which have left barb and Darryll still without a functioning bakery to offer their programs. Rudy said, "everybody's on our side. Nobody has ever said, "what are you guys smoking?" everybody's on our side, its just been frustrating that the amount of money that i thought we could raise is taking longer than i thought."once they have the money, the system will become self sustaining. The bakery profits would pay for the labor and bills like a business normally does. Any extra profits would than go to food worx to improve and provide the programs.

These programs are based off similar ones that are already in place and work. The restorative justice center in st. johnsbury offers a program called circles of support and accountability (cosas). "the cosa model consists of two concentric circles of person. The inner circle is comprised of four to six community volunteers and one ex-offer, known as a core member. The outer circle is comprised of secular local professionals (e.G., psychologist, probation officials, law enforcement officers, civic leaders) Who provide operational decision-making for the project in total, much like a board of directors. It is also usually the case the a project will have a coordinator -- a paid staff who manages the day-to-day operations of the project and arrange his training opportunities for cosa volunteers. There may also be additional paid staff, most of whom are part time employees. In the original mcco pilot project in south central ontario, there is a part time coordinator and parentheses usually) Three part time assistance." according the study "circles of support and accountability: An innovative approach to community based-risk management for high-risk sexual offenders."

Debra clark has now been sober for over seven years and after being incarcerated for drug charges she served her sentence and wanted to change. She took part in the cosa program and is now a production manager at a new media company opening up in st. johnsbury. Clark said, "don’t judge right away because we all have a something to offer it’s finding it and having the support and the courage to change your ways." she adds if it was for these kind of programs it would been so much harder to change, "i was so scared to come back to my community and now i hold my head high."

Deb is proof that programs like break out bakery can make a difference, which is why the rudy's are working so hard to make it happen. Barbara said,"well i feel a huge among of responsibility actually to make this thing happen so that it can be therefor them when they they come out."