Archive for Friday, November 10, 2006

Baking project gives homeless a hand up

November 10, 2006

Advertisement

Minnie Grimm was humming Thursday morning as she scooped out dough of a chicken-and-cheese concoction from a bowl into a tray.

Barnes was helping bake dog biscuits and working for $6 an hour at the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen with Michelle Barnes, Vickie Goodwin and LINK coordinator Dianne Morgan.

The Lawrence Community Shelter, 214 W. 10th St., has sold the dog treats mostly on Saturdays at the Farmers Market in downtown Lawrence. The baking, packaging and selling project allows unemployed homeless people and shelter guests a chance to be productive.

"Self-esteem and money, because everybody gets paid by the hour. It's something to do during the day for a couple of hours," Morgan said.

The baking business is offered through the Joseph Project. It is funded by a $10,000 grant from the National Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which encourages small-business startups.

The season's final Farmers Market will be Saturday in the 800 block of New Hampshire, but project workers also have sold the biscuits at Pawsh Wash & Pet Health Market, 1520 Wakarusa Drive, and will soon offer them at Community Mercantile Co-op, 901 Iowa, Morgan said.

LINK coordinator Dianne Morgan, from left, and Vickie Goodwin remove freshly baked dog biscuits from a tray while Michelle Barnes and Minnie Grimm get another batch ready for the oven Thursday at the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen. The group is funded by a grant that helps employ homeless people in making products that they can sell at the Lawrence Farmers Market and other locations.

LINK coordinator Dianne Morgan, from left, and Vickie Goodwin remove freshly baked dog biscuits from a tray while Michelle Barnes and Minnie Grimm get another batch ready for the oven Thursday at the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen. The group is funded by a grant that helps employ homeless people in making products that they can sell at the Lawrence Farmers Market and other locations.

Shelter guests have the opportunity to bake for two hours, then package for two more and sell them at the Farmers Market on Saturdays. They ask for a $1 donation, but people typically pay more, Morgan said.

The project has grossed about $5,000 since April, and that funding helps pay the wages of the project's workers. Morgan said project coordinators are hoping to expand the business.

More ideas are in the works, including providing staff members from the shelter to help assemble parts for a startup business that builds dog waste scooping machines.

"The main goal would be to employ people who otherwise have a hard time getting their foot in the door," Morgan said.

One biscuit cook recently has moved into her own apartment, Morgan said.

Barnes was working with the project for the first time Thursday.

She said she has been staying at the shelter for about two months, but recently was hired through Sedona Staffing at NCS Pearson Government Solutions. She also is looking for a place to live.

"Until I start working, I like to help out because it gives me something to do," Barnes said.

It also was Grimm's first time baking dog biscuits. She said she has stayed at the shelter since September. She has worked in St. Louis as a sales representative, but recent health problems have set her back, Grimm said. She is also looking for an apartment in Lawrence.

She was happy to be up and around Thursday working for some money.

"Yeah, it will keep you rolling," Grimm said.

"Especially for somebody who's not used to working or hasn't done anything in a while. I think it's a good start for them," Barnes said of the project.

Comments

jhawkdpt 8 years, 7 months ago

Not a perfect system I agree, but it is mobilizing individuals in the right direction for self-enhancement. Multiple challenges must be overcome to help just one homeless person and you can't just throw money at the problem. Support services, health care, housing, and public support are necessary. Some would argue that funding more services encourages more homeless people. I have never seen any data to support that. However, I would argue that if you 'raise' those people up in your community you will have a more supportive community overall.

common_cents 8 years, 7 months ago

I doubt I would buy anything after looking at the picture.

  • no hair nets
  • no gloves
  • wearing jewelry while working on food products
  • drink container in the food prep area

Sorry, this may be picky, but I have a rough time with grant money being used and not even the basics sanitary rules being followed.

alm77 8 years, 7 months ago

Sorry, Smitty, but $10,000 +$5,000 (gross) isn't making anyone a huge profit. There are costs that weren't listed in this article. Ingredients, packaging, Employee wages, and delivery costs to the local businesses that are supporting the effort. I doubt your "pimp" makes more than $6 an hour either by the time its all said and done.

MaryKatesPillStash 8 years, 7 months ago

Common_cents,

They are making dog biscuits. I don't think the same rules apply when you are making food for fido.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 7 months ago

They are making DOG food, common, not people food. Hair nets and gloves aren't required for that.

Or have you been thinking of buying some and sitting in front of the TV snacking??

Emily Hadley 8 years, 7 months ago

Quoted: doubt I would buy anything after looking at the picture.

  • no hair nets
  • no gloves
  • wearing jewelry while working on food products
  • drink container in the food prep area

Sorry, this may be picky, but I have a rough time with grant money being used and not even the basics sanitary rules being followed.


Hypocritical food standards tick me off to no end. Whether it's nose rings, waxed tissues, hair, or clothing, people look for this anal crap and miss the big picture of care, hygiene, and cleanliness which is completely lacking in much of our retail food production.

  1. Take a look at where your Milk Bones are prepared. You'll have to start at the cow, chicken, and pig factories. Follow the animals to the slaughterhouses, then to the rendering plant. After that, tour the pet food factory and let us know what you find.

  2. None of those things are "basic sanitary rules". Hair nets, gloves, and jewelry removal are not standard in most restaurants. Gloves are common in chains that have frequent violations and employees who don't wash their hands. Gloves aren't magically clean. I have seen many people scratch themselves and wipe their noses with their gloves, probably the one pair they wear for each shift. I have seen people wear a uniform for weeks or months without washing it. -Gloves aren't common in real restaurants and are never used in bakeries, except in packaging finished products. I have gotten baked goods with torn pieces of gloves that got caught on the sharp edges of bread and cookies. I'd rather have a clean hand than a piece of sweaty plastic or powdered vinyl in my food. -Hair nets--are you kidding? I haven't seen a hair net since grade school, and nothing could have made that food any worse. Where do you see anyone required to wear hair nets? Would you wear a hair net and plastic gloves if you were making brownies for a bake sale? Most places require hats or hair ties, which do little or no good. The best way to keep your hair from falling out everywhere, including into food, is to dread it. -Jewelry--you lost me here. I don't see anything in the picture that is interacting with the food. Losing earrings and earring backs was always the most common jewelry issue when I worked in fast food, and they were the one thing that was allowed everywhere. Some places only allow studs, not hoops, for safety reasons, but losing the backs to studs was the most frequent problem by far. One girl I worked with lost a button off of her cheap corporate polo shirt and found it in the lettuce. -Drink container--really only an issue if it interferes with proper hand washing or gets in the food. It has a sealed lid. Look under the counter on a shelf above in almost any restaurant and you'll see drinks, many without lids.

  3. This kitchen looks quite clean by what I see in the picture. I don't doubt that it is sanitary, regardless of the fact they're making dog biscuits.

Confrontation 8 years, 7 months ago

Posted by offtotheright (anonymous) on November 10, 2006 at 10:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

These homeless people obviously haven't missed any meals themselves!

It's good to be homeless in Lawrence......

Obviously, you know nothing about nutrition. These people do not have the money to buy fresh fruits, veggies, and other health foods. They are served foods that are high in carbs and fat (a.k.a. cheap). Before you insult people on their looks, take a look at yourself. I have no idea what you look like, but I guarantee that you are incredibly ugly on the inside (and that will show on the outside).

reginafliangie 8 years, 7 months ago

I for one, am happy to see the homeless working and not sitting around outside smoking and drinking and whining about not being able to get a job. Good job to the ladies trying to better themselves. I hope nothing but the best for them. I also find it disturbing that out of the dozens of homeless (and thats probably a low number) that hang out near there and are out of work that only 3 people are interested in making their lifes better? I certainly hope there are more involved than were pictured or mentioned. I'm sure some of the others do other jobs and thats great. I'm for anything that helps people better themselves.

ljrich 8 years, 7 months ago

gloves are currently requirement in every restaurant in the state of kansas. not sure what 'real restaurants' or bakeries are exempt from this code? not that it matters for this article, but i had to comment.

reginafliangie 8 years, 7 months ago

Thanks ljrich, thats what I was thinking, dog food or not. And if your hair is below your collar it must be in a ponytail or hair net, the reason hair nets aren't seen is because the ones that actually cook the food (which you usually can't see) are wearing them. The servers or counter personnel should at least have the long hair tied back. Beards are fobidden in the cooking area. But I have seen it going on. Just had to add my 2 cents since emily is the expert on the food prep laws.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.