Baking Away Homelessness with Bridge Bread

PPCS and Bridge Bread have been putting men to work baking delicious loaves and pastries since 2011. Now, we have committed to strengthening the partnership to help more men get their lives back on track.

“Together, we are crafting a program that offers qualified persons experiencing homelessness a complete pathway to permanent housing,” said Fred Domke, Executive Director of Bridge Bread.

In the partnership, Bridge Bread provides employment for men sheltered at PPCS’s Soulard Shelter who we recommend as qualified for those positions. Help with rent, as well as healthy relationships with local residential property owners have kept this program in motion.

For more than a decade, this collaboration has produced dozens of successes – men that became housed and employed long-term. Bakery Manager Kevin, pictured on cover, was staying at the Soulard Shelter when he started working at Bridge Bread in 2016.

“I made my choice, and I wanted to live and get out of homelessness. You have to follow through. You have to take the guidance that is given. Help is there for the taking.”

Three more current bakers were referred to Bridge Bread by the Soulard Shelter team. Many more found their way out of homelessness over the last 11 years through this partnership.

“We can only estimate how many were able to move on to their own apartments and higher paying jobs, but we think it is likely several dozen. This year and in 2024 we will intentionally define the criteria for acceptance to the joint program and the procedures to ensure success as men work at the bakery and begin living independently.”

The two organizations will remain separate entities united in their commitment to help men overcome the many obstacles faced by those experiencing homelessness.

Why men only? Men represent the highest percentage of those living on the streets of St. Louis and for safety reasons and best practices providing trauma-informed care, Soulard Shelter serves only men.