Holding loaves of bread at Madeline’s Café - Sandra Wright, director of ACES; Gerard Monte of Madeline’s; Jennie Hobson, ACES volunteer; Betty Jean Thompson, ACES nutritionist and head of the bread-production; Hector Rosano of Madeline’s; Bernadette Macarthur, ACES assistant director.
In an innovative partnership, the ACES emergency shelter kids will make bread under the supervision of their nutritionist, using some ingredients from a garden planted by the local Master Gardeners and equipment bought by a volunteer. The bread is then sold at Madeline’s Café.
The “Extra Dough” project delivered its first loaves to the East Church Street eatery this week and will allow the kids (who are staying at the ACES shelter after being removed from their homes) to earn some spending money and learn life/business skills.
Nutritionist Betty Jean Thompson, who heads up the baking and mixing, described it as “an ongoing fundraiser, Extra Dough is specifically for the kids, to give them the chance to earn some extra cash, because when they come in, they literally have nothing.”
ACES director Sandra Wright and assistant director Bernadette MacArthur both say the new activity in their house kitchen meets a wide range of needs, besides the extra cash. They say the kids get firsthand experience with both cooking and business skills. They plan to begin offering their selection of bread, ranging from old-fashioned white to Percorino & Rosemary, at the weekly farmers’ market which will give their residents a chance to interact with the public and develop customer relation skills.
Wright said nutritionist Thompson brings a great combination of skills to the table. The cook/counselor not only knows her way around a kitchen having made bread for Mary’s Bread Basket at one time, but also comes with some serious counseling skills - she has previously conducted counseling for different groups in the metro-area.
“With Betty Jean, the kids are sitting around the table getting good advice while learning about making bread,” Wright said.
In the ACES kitchen, the floating crew of eight kids all get involved. The emergency shelter stays full with a waiting list.
“We have the 17-year-olds mixing the dough and the younger kids bagging and labeling,” Thompson said. “Other kids can pick the herbs and peppers from the garden that go into the bread.”
Wright assured prospective customers that the kitchen at ACES is state-inspected and recently received an A-plus, 104 percent score from the state on their facility as a whole.
Having a bona-fide business experience while at ACES is one of the valuable life skills they aim for at the shelter which opened earlier this year. And, the spending money does come in handy with many of the kids arriving after sudden removal from homes (mostly by the courts); often arriving with nothing but the clothes they have on.
They are provided the basic items, but the chance to earn some spending money is a real bonus. One-hundred percent of the proceeds go back to the kids at ACES.
Hector Rosano, who, along with Gerard Monte, owns Madeline’s said they are honored to be selected as an outlet to sale the ACES bread. The bread is sold at the front counter any time the café is open.
ACES wanted to especially thank volunteer Jennie Hobson for donating much of the bread making supplies, the Master Gardeners for the garden and Madeline’s - “having Madeline’s associated with it, shows that it will be quality.”
Rosano and Monte both expect that bread sales from their café Tuesday through Friday will be brisk. In fact, they believe ACES is going to need industrial bread-making equipment, which they note as a hint to donors.
Breads currently available are:
Cow Bread (named by the kids) – a robust fruit and nut bread featuring cranberries and orange zest.
3 Pepper Cheddar will use Master Gardener planted peppers later in the summer.
Pecorino and Rosemary – from herbs grown around the shelter.
Other breads include: 5 Grains; Wheat Berry; Dilly bread, a hearty pioneer bread with ACES herb garden dill; Old fashion wheat and white.
For more information contact Madeline’s at 706-253-1052 or ACES at 706-253-2375.
The Appalachian Children's Emergency Shelter depends on donations and financial support from the community. They provide safe, temporary housing for children who have been removed from their homes by DFACS.