ROANOKE, Va. – A Roanoke nonprofit dedicated to changing the lives of formerly incarcerated women say its services are more important now than ever before.
Pounds of baked goods being mixed, cooked and bagged in a matter of hours is the standard for volunteers and students at House of Bread.
“We bake bread and granola and cookies and brownies and that sort of thing,” House of Bread’s Co-Founder Lisa Goad said.
But the bakers don’t have your traditional culinary background. Since 2016, the nonprofit has trained about 40 formerly incarcerated women in the world of baking in hopes of providing them with job skills.
“There’s a lot of organizations out there that provide help you know social services kind of help, but I feel like we’re sort of filling a niche because there isn’t any other organization that serving this particular population,” said Goad.
She says it hasn’t always been easy since there are so many stereotypes about people with criminal backgrounds.
“When people come out of incarceration, we kind of as a society expect them to jump right in and just get a job and get a place to live and carry on with their life, but it’s actually really hard. There’s a lot of barriers, and we don’t, as a community, do a great job of supporting them,” Goad said.
Their products have gotten so popular it’s even being sold at places like Crystal Spring Grocery Co.