I first met Brandon Scarth one day while out in front of Fat City Café. He was walking his English Cream Golden Retriever named Chutney. One of the great things about the café is the abundance of dogs that parous through the village. Brandon has an infectious laugh. He’s a handsome man, has a very nice profile. He’s a kind person. We started to chat and became fast friends.
Brandon works at Sarah Bellum’s Bakery located in the center of Multnomah Village, located a few doors down from the café. He bakes and cleans, serves customers either by being the cashier or by packing cupcakes for the customers’ orders. A special bakery, featuring a unique program set up in helping those that have suffered brain injury.
My grandfather died of brain cancer when he was 63, I was ten at the time. I’ll always remember him.
Brandon was born and raised in Sandy, Oregon, up near Mt. Hood. He’s 36 years old, born August 7th, 1986. His father taught the choir at Sandy High School while his mother worked as a librarian at the Sandy Public Library.
He attended Sandy High School, showing a special interest in theater and music. He was involved in some of the theatrical productions that the high school performed while he attended school there. He immersed himself in theater and music.
Out of High School Brandon attended Cornish College of the Arts located in Seattle, Washington. He attended for two years, concentrating in music and theater. He transferred to the Multnomah Bible College going into his junior year. He fell in love with a gal and continued with his education.
In 2007, while traveling back from a visit to Crater Lake, Brandon, his girlfriend, and her parents were traveling back to Sandy. Brandon was in the backseat, sitting next to his girlfriend, her parents were driving the car. As they pulled off S.E. 82nd Avenue they were sitting at a stop light, when without warning a utility truck being driven by a driver high on meth and marijuana, plowed into the back of the car that Brandon was sitting in, the truck ended up on top of the hood of the car. Brandon’s head was pinned inside of the car, the other passengers suffered minor injuries. The impact caused a hematoma to his brain, the impact led eventually in him having brain memory loss. Life flight was called in, damage was done to his right side of his face, severing nerves, and causing issues with his hearing and eyesight.
I can honestly say that Brandon is a very brave fellow, lucky to be alive. He’s sincere, a character, funny and his impersonations will leave you laughing. I find Brandon to be bright, intelligent and he has a thoughtful and a humble side. He’s a bright spirit, touching others’ lives.
Brandon went on to have several operations with corrective surgery. He went through rehabilitation for nearly three years after the accident. The surgery and therapy have helped him, he suffered facial paralysis.
In 2016 Brandon Scarth joined Sarah Bellum’s Bakery, he was one of the original members (a pioneer in the program) and was also part of the farmers market at OHSU. From there the program grew and eventually moved into its current location in 2016.
Brandon stays busy baking, cleaning, usually putting a few days in each week. There’s a special blanket left on the floor at the entrance of the bakery for Chutney. Brandon and Chutney are part of the community in Multnomah Village. He’s been involved with the program for nearly seven years. He was placed in his job through being introduced to Faith and Had Walmer and Rik Lemoncello (the founder of Sarah Bellum’s Bakery and through (Brain Injury Connection NW). https://braininjuryconnectionsnw.org
So, Brandon was given Chutney through a guide dog program titled Sunstone Service Dogs. Chutney is a English Cream Golden Retriever. He helps Brandon with direction and other duties. Everybody loves Chutney. He’s loyal and understanding.
Brandon Scarth is an inspiration and part of the community in Multnomah Village. I encourage anyone to stop in and visit Brandon and try some of the great baked goods.
Kristi Hansen is the current Manager of Sarah Bellum’s Bakery. She’s been working at the bakery since December of 2018.
She was born in S.W. Portland and grew up in Tualatin, Oregon, attending Sherwood High School. She then went to Portland State University and got her B.S. in Sociology, she then received her M.P.A in Public Administration. She worked in several departments at Portland State University after receiving her Masters. She worked for a Recycling Education Program, worked in Urban Affairs, Public Administration, Research Administrator, and held other duties and responsibilities. She went on to get married, raise two daughters and a son, she went on to work at Portland State University through the years to follow.
In 2010 she received a stroke. It was unexpected and she had to reevaluate her life. She took a leave of absence from her job. She had concerns about her future after the stroke.
In 2018 she heard about Rik Lemoncello and his program at Sarah Bellum’s Bakery. She joined the bakery in 2019, working under Faith Walmer who was the front-end manager. Faith’s husband Had was a volunteer who worked in the back end as a baker and who now works currently at the front-end selling cupcakes.
Soon she was appointed to share Faith’s position, in charge of supervising, ordering, and handling inventory, she has several responsibilities that she handles while working at the bakery. She’s well liked.
In the last few years, the bakery has grown and so have her responsibilities. Everyone at the shop enjoys Kristi, “Kristi is a gem, we couldn’t function without her,” notes Brandon Scarth (one of the workers at the bakery).
You can unusually find Kristi working at the bakery, greeting the customers, and watching over the employees that work there.
Sarah Bellum’s Bakery
For the crew at one Multnomah Village bakery, the road to recovery is paved with cake. Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop is home to an innovative rehabilitation program, where adults with brain injury can practice functional baking and retail tasks in a safe space outside of the traditional therapy setting. The program does more than help participants develop greater independence and efficacy, however. Since its creation in 2016, one of the key aims of the organization has been to alleviate post-injury isolation through connection and collaboration within its team of survivors and through social inclusion in the greater community. It was an idea devised and implemented by speech language pathologist, Rik Lemoncello–who is our first interview of the new year. As someone originally from the Portland area myself, it is a great privilege to be talking to an Oregonian who is doing such amazing work locally.
First things first: tell me a little about yourself, Rik.
I’m the founder and volunteer Program Director at Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop and a full-time professor of Speech-Language Pathology at Pacific University. As an avid cake baker and speech-language pathologist, I combined my passions for cake baking with brain injury rehabilitation to create this unique program. I’ve lived in the Portland, OR area since 2008 and consider Portland home! I live in SW Portland with my partner, and we love playing board games and entertaining friends together.
Now, could you tell me about Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop?
Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide return-to-work opportunities for adults with acquired brain injury through baking and selling delicious baked goods made with organic ingredients. We specialize in cupcakes but have also branched out to create other goodies like brownies, lemon bars, cookies, and some paleo products. We started in the summer of 2016 with a small team, baking one day a week and selling at a local farmer’s market one day each week. Since that time, we have slowly grown to become a full-time operation. We moved into our brick-and-mortar shop in SW Portland, Oregon in 2018 and just celebrated our 2-year anniversary of being in this fabulous location. We also distribute our mini cupcakes and paleo products to a local grocery chain (New Seasons Market).
At the bakery program, our volunteers help to support adults with acquired brain injury to clean, organize, prepare, mix, bake, frost, garnish, set-up, and sell our delicious baked goods. We have different team members in the “back of house” doing the baking and the “front of house” doing the sales and customer interactions. Some of our crew volunteer in just the back, just the front, or sometimes do both. We are a strength-based program and we work to match each individual’s skills and strengths to the job tasks that best match those strengths. Our support-staff learns how to best adapt each task to the individual and provide just enough support to help each baker succeed.
Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop is also a community. We are creating a safe space where survivors of acquired brain injury can gather, volunteer, and support each other through meaningful activity. We are not a support group in the traditional sense, but peer supports happen naturally through the work. We are a supportive space that allows folks to try something new, reflect on successes and challenges, and build new skills for success. Through the focus on success, people feel good about their efforts and pride in their work. This positive vibe spreads throughout the bakery to build our community of strength, support, and purpose. The bakery is embedded in the local community of Multnomah Village in SW Portland, and our customers get to meet many different survivors of brain injury, learn about their stories, and learn about the complexities of brain injury.
How did you dream up the idea for this program and why did you decide to focus on the brain injury community in particular?
As the founder of this program, I have been thinking of a way to combine my two personal passions: cognitive rehabilitation for brain injury and cake baking. I started baking cakes when I was in graduate school to become a speech-language pathologist, so I have been baking cakes as long as I have been practicing speech-language pathology (SLP).
In my clinical career as an SLP, I became most fascinated by memory and learning challenges that occur after brain injury. I continued to study about and learn more about memory and cognitive systems while working in different rehabilitation hospitals. I spent time working with survivors of acquired brain injury and their families in the hospitals, but never really knew what happened once they left the rehabilitation hospital. Later in my career, I got involved with several support groups in the Portland, Oregon area. I got to know several survivors who were living with the effects of brain injury for 2, 5, 10, 20, even 40 years later. This experience of meeting long-term survivors and their families, and seeing the chronic impact of brain injury shaped me even further. I was committed to creating a program that would provide long-term, community-based supports.
Acquired brain injury (ABI) includes causes of brain injury like traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, brain tumor, lack of oxygen (anoxic injury), brain infections, and other causes. This is a very diverse population. Every brain injury is so different. Every person is so different. How each brain injury affects each individual is so different. This complexity is part of what I love about working with survivors of ABI and their families. Working with a team to figure out each individual’s story, their strengths, their challenges, their motivations, and their quirks is all part of the deal. Doing this in isolation is hard. Doing this in a functional space with real, meaningful activity provides a whole new context. This work at the bakery program has continued to shape me as a clinician and as a teacher.
What differentiates the program at Sarah Bellum’s from more conventional speech and occupational therapies?
Well, that’s a big question. The fields of speech-language pathology (SLP) and occupational therapy (OT) are both vast professions. Three key team members who focus on cognitive rehabilitation after brain injury are the SLP, the OT, and the Neuropsychologist. The SLP and OT should be working together to help support an individual plan to help a survivor return to life, work, and play throughout the lifelong recovery following brain injury.
In the medical rehabilitation model, the SLP and OT work in hospital or clinical settings. A main challenge in these settings can be to work on skills that are “functional” (meaningful) for each individual survivor. The clinical context is often not very functional. So, working to support an individual client’s rehabilitation can be challenging. The context of a real-world, actual bakery program that provides supports and training gives us a unique place to work. We are not a medical rehabilitation center, and our focus is not on “rehabilitation” in the traditional sense.
Instead, we help each individual baker or salesperson to develop the skills to be successful in those work tasks. These might include elements of SLP or OT practice, such as errorless instruction, repeated practice, task analysis, environmental set-up, or reflection exercises. Our focus is on the work task(s), and we collaborate with each survivor to figure out what will help them succeed.
I know that when you receive speech and/or occupational therapy, you’re encouraged to have goals. Could you give me some examples of goals that crew members might work towards at Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop?
Since we are not a traditional model of medical rehabilitation, our goals look a little different. It’s important to acknowledge that each individual’s goals are unique to that person. Each baker or salesperson has their own skills they might want to improve on. Examples of meaningful, individual goals for our team have included:
- Arriving to work on time and prepared
- Reading a customer’s body language to figure out if they want to hear more information about our program or if they are in a hurry
- Having a social experience out of the house once a week
- Improving loudness of your voice so customers can understand you
- Learning to frost cupcakes efficiently and consistently
- Figuring out ways to adapt the baking process for yourself
- Increasing awareness for pacing (e.g., knowing when it’s time to take a break)
- Learning to use the cash register and remember the different buttons
- Learning to make change
- Initiating conversation with peers during breaks
- and many more…
What adjustments have you had to make at the bakery to better suit the needs of the crew that works there?
There are many adaptations we have made along the way, and continue to make, so that each individual baker or salesperson can feel successful. Some examples of work-place adaptations include:
- Procedures. We try to keep things organized and consistent to help establish new procedures and skills. One example of this is our “check-in” procedures when a team member arrives at the bakery.
- Recipe Adaptation. Our cupcake recipes have been created with many steps broken down and explained so that each new baker can learn our baking procedures. Each recipe starts with gathering all the necessary equipment, includes explicit instructions for handling the mixers, and includes details like how long to mix each batter. Some recipes are easier and some are more difficult, so we also match the recipe to each individual’s strengths.
- Organization. We keep our kitchen and bakery space very clean and organized. There are labels on every container, rack, and cabinet for where each item belongs. That makes it consistent so that we always know where to locate an item when we need it.
- Pacing. Being on your feet and using high cognitive effort for a 2- to 6-hour shift can be taxing. We also help to pace the day to ensure there are natural breaks built-in, we adjust the level of stimulation (e.g., music on or off), and we match each person’s level of endurance to the best tasks and schedule. For example, some folks start out with a one-hour shift during the quiet set-up in the morning and gradually work up to more stimulation.
- Awareness & Motivation. Most of our volunteers have not yet attempted to return-to-work after their brain injury. Part of this return-to-work program is to provide the safe space for each individual to try a new task, reflect on strengths and challenges, and continue to learn about themselves. Finding what motivates each individual and working to build their self-esteem is an important part of this program. Success produces more success.
And there are many more examples. It’s all about an individualized, customized experience for each unique volunteer in our program to adapt to what they need.
Another focus of the bakery is alleviating social isolation. Why do you find survivors often experience isolation after their injury, and in what ways can it work as a barrier to recovery?
Social isolation is one of the top reported long-term symptoms after brain injury. Acquired brain injury can affect so many different aspects of a person’s life. A person may become more depressed and withdrawn after a brain injury because of this major life change. A person may have difficulty interacting with others in social situations as a result of their brain injury. A person may have difficulty with moving around and getting around, making it harder to engage in social activities in the community. A person may have difficulty with noise or light sensitivity, making it difficult to be out in social situations. As a result, a person may lose their job, their driver’s license, and their self of self.
How does working at Sarah Bellum’s help relieve this?
The isolation that can happen long-term is a major reason why I created this program – to provide a safe space with meaningful and purposeful activity to regain a feeling of self-esteem in the “real world.” Having purpose and meaning, and feeling like you contribute to a program, are important aspects of developing a sense of identity at work. Feeling pride in your work, a sense of accomplishment, and continuing to develop new skills can all continue to motivate lifelong improvement. Learning from each other and peers with brain injury can also foster community. We can all continue to learn new ways to engage!
So how has COVID-19 affected Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop and its crew? Have you taken any steps to address the increased isolation they must be facing during the pandemic?
Oh, this is a big one! 2020 was a tough year! As we learned more about the COVID-19 pandemic and things started shutting down in March 2020, the bakery also shut down. We closed for two weeks at the start of the pandemic to figure out how to proceed. The Board has met regularly to keep our priorities in place: 1) Keep our crew, volunteers, and team safe and healthy, 2) Sustain our program so that we can still be here post-pandemic as the only program of its kind, and 3) Continue to provide supports for adults with acquired brain injury.
We re-opened in April 2020 with limited operations by some of our core team. Roles have shifted. Most importantly, we have found new ways to connect and stay connected. Each week, we have 4 different online “groups” taking place: a meditation group, a social chat time, a game group, and a movie discussion group. It has been so great to see our team connect in a whole new way, and to take leadership with developing new skills to organize and run these different groups each week. We also created a “directory” so that our crew can connect with each other on their own time outside of these structured group chats. New friendships have formed, and that has been the best “surprise” of COVID-19!
We are all very much looking forward to the day in 2021 when it will be safe to return to our “full” operations at the bakery program. The Board is very pleased that we just wrapped up a successful online fundraiser that will allow us to continue to sustain our work and be here in 2021. It’s an ongoing effort to keep up this work, and “it takes a village!” There are so many people who are working hard to keep our program going, and that energy sustains us.
I’ve seen that you also display and sell the art of folks with brain injury at the bakery. Can you tell me a little about that?
Yes, we have a good sized “blank” wall in the café space at the bakery (pre-pandemic). We decided early on to use this wall as an “art wall” to feature art by artists with brain injury. We rotate artists every 2 or 3 months. Each artist decides what they would like to display and sets their prices. The artwork is for sale to the public. We do not charge a fee for this art display but do ask each artist to donate at least 10% of all sales back to the bakery program.
When a new artist hangs their artwork, it is fun to have an artwork reception. That is up to each artist. We help to promote the event. We also encourage each artist to hang up a short bio about themselves so that customers can learn about them.
We have had 10 different artists featured on our “art wall” so far, and are booked out for the first few months of 2021 already. If any artists with brain injury are interested in displaying and selling their works at our bakery, please email [email protected] for details.
What do you find speech language pathology, occupational therapy, and rehabilitation psychology graduate students gain from participating in this program that they might not otherwise?
The student experience is an important part of what we do at the bakery program. My full-time job is working as a professor of speech-language pathology. I get to teach classes in brain injury, speech disorders, swallowing disorders, and cognitive challenges. In the classroom, students learn about the “theories” of how to work with folks with these different challenges. In their clinical rotations, students learn to actually do various assessments and to customize treatment plans for each client they see. It’s a steep learning curve for beginning graduate students. The fields of speech-language pathology (SLP) and occupational therapy (OT) are both so broad. Students need to learn to work with clients at all ages (birth thru geriatrics) for a variety of disorders/challenges. Learning about acquired brain injury is just one of many topics that graduate students learn about.
Setting up a student clinical rotation at Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop has been a part of the program and our educational outreach from the beginning. Since we are not a traditional medical rehabilitation program, students gain a very different experience at the bakery program. In my approach to supporting student learning over the years, I have adapted a new approach. Now, students focus on developing their observation skills. They start by observing how each individual baker approaches their work, analyzes the work task, and develops work-related goals to help each individual improve some aspect of their work. It can be challenging when students first start out, but over the semester, they learn more about their individual baker as a person, develop meaningful goals, collaborate with their “client,” and learn about the many different aspects of what it means to live with brain injury. This is not an experience students would get in any other clinical rotation.
And finally, how has the local community responded to Sarah Bellum’s?
The community outreach, support, and enthusiasm for our program has been great. First, it’s important that we make delicious cupcakes and baked treats. That is what helps to bring people back. It’s fun when a customer asks who “Sarah Bellum” is. That way we get to explain that Sarah Bellum is a play on words (the cerebellum is in the brain). We help to educate the public about brain injury and the many different ways that brain injury can affect someone. Most people do actually have some personal connection to acquired brain injury, whether they themselves sustained a concussion, know someone who had a TBI, or a family member or friend who had a brain tumor or stroke. I think the best indicator is that we have sustained a small non-profit program with a retail/bakery operation, during a pandemic, and are about to celebrate our 5-year anniversary in May 2021. As one of our bakers says, “This program just wants to happen.”
My sincere hope is that Rik Lemoncello’s approach will inspire us all to reevaluate how we, too, can better make long term healing “happen.” What I find particularly exciting are the ways in which this kind of comprehensive program can support the (oft-neglected) psychosocial component of recovery. You need look no further than Sarah Bellum’s to see the immense therapeutic potential. Empowering survivors’ in rebuilding their identity, purpose, and self esteem–the bakery truly is changing lives one cupcake at a time.
We are a non-profit bakery supporting adults with acquired brain injury.
We are a certified kosher dairy bakery.
Our bakery is peanut-free.
Thank you for the orders, support, donations, and sharing on social media. We are so grateful to our community of supporters. We are looking forward with hope, possibility, opportunity, and resilience!
- Purchase some of our tasty desserts from local vegan food cart, Planted PDX.
- Purchase an e-gift card online (does not expire).
- Make a tax-deductible donation online to help us sustain our efforts and support the community of adults living with acquired brain injury.
- If you have a Fred Meyer Rewards Card, please consider adding us as your community rewards non-profit partner. Every time you use your Rewards Card at Fred Meyer, a portion of your sale will be donated to our program. Thank you!
Thank you for your support! We appreciate you!!
Our shop is located in the wonderful community of Multnomah Village in SW Portland. We are accessible by Tri-Met Bus #44 or 45, and there is free (2-hour) street parking nearby. We look forward to welcoming you!
Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop
7828 SW Capitol Hwy
Portland, OR 97219
Acknowledgement of the Original People of the Land
We humbly acknowledge that we live and work on sacred, living land, in Multnomah Village in SW Portland. This land is the ancestral and unceded territory of the original peoples of the Wasco, Clackamas, Kathlamet, Cowlitz, Molalla, Tumwater, the Multnomah, and Watlala bands of the Chinook peoples, and the Tualatin Band of Kalapuya, who are now a part of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, as well as many other tribes who made their homes along the Columbia (Wimahl) and Willamette (Whilamut) Rivers. They lived and thrived in a complex and interdependent relationship with the land and other beings long before colonial settlement. We recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.
We recognize that land acknowledgements are part of a rich oral culture. We share this virtual written statement in an effort to renew our commitment to acknowledging place and the ancestral and contemporary stewards of these irreplaceable resources of land, air, water and cosmos.
Sarah Bellum’s Bakery
Three decades after an assault in a California night club put him in a hospital for a year, Brent Yonkovich still has physical challenges. There’s a slur to his speech, and he has trouble controlling one arm.
None of that stops him from being one of the best cupcake salesmen around Portland.
Pop in to Sarah Bellum’s Bakery in Multnomah Village, and you might meet Yonkovich, 54, behind the counter.
The nonprofit bakery and workshop, which opened in December, is staffed by adults with acquired brain injuries.
“I’ve had numerous volunteer gigs in the past, but none of them have been as fulfilling and rewarding as Sarah Bellum’s,” Yonkovich said. “This place is awesome. Volunteering at Sarah Bellum’s has made me feel like I’m in control of my own destiny. I could not be happier.”
There’s no Sarah at this shop. The name is a play on words — the cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls coordination.
Sarah Bellum’s is the brain child of Rik Lemoncello, an associate professor of speech-language pathology at Pacific University in Forest Grove. Three years ago, he received a grant from the university to launch the bakery as a form of skills training and a social segue for people with brain injuries.
“The biggest barrier for folks with chronic brain injury is social isolation,” Lemoncello said. “Friends tend to fade out because of cognitive challenges. It’s hard for our folks to make a lot of initiation and call people and do that follow-up that requires memory. They can tend to isolate and just stay home. Sarah Bellum’s provides a space for them to come and get back out into the community.”
For the past two years, he’s led a group of 11 volunteer bakers who have worked out of commissary kitchens and sold their wares at area farmers markets. After a successful fundraising campaign raised more than $50,000, Sarah Bellum’s was able to purchase equipment and renovate a space in Southwest Portland. The storefront will afford even more people with brain injuries the chance to get involved.
“I’ve seen so many people in the (brain injury) community just wanting to get out into the world, wanting to interact and wanting to get some job skills, but the world is not very supportive of that for our folks,” said Faith Walmer, whose husband, Had, is living with a brain injury.
Faith is the front of house manager at the shop and the only paid staff (though the nonprofit hopes to eventually be able to pay all its workers.) She’s seen some dramatic transformations in the people who come to the bakery with brain injuries. They may start off shy and withdrawn, but they open up, they talk to customers, they start to smile.
“It’s just really moving to me to be able to be part of a venue that affords our people that kind of opportunity to be human,” she said.
Really, it could be any kind of shop that affords these opportunities. Lemoncello just happens to love baking, and he brought his own recipes to the shop.
“Baking actually lends itself well to this kind of work because it’s repetitive,” he said. “It is very procedure-oriented to follow a recipe, and you really have to have good sustained attention to stay focused on your recipe and build your endurance.”
What started as a five-step cupcake recipe has become two pages of detailed instructions. It takes the bakers a full day to make one batch of cupcakes.
“I’ve learned which steps really need to be made more explicit,” Lemoncello said. “For example, how to scoop, how to raise and lower the bowl on the mixer, how to attach the paddle, where to find all of the different equipment because our bakers may not remember.”
College student volunteers serve as direct supports to bakers with brain injuries. The work is also a chance for students to see how a brain injury can affect someone in real-life.
And Lemoncello hopes the bakery raises awareness in the broader community about people who are living with a brain injury.
“Brain injury is oftentimes considered an invisible injury, where a person might look fine, they can speak fine, but internally they’re struggling with their ability to focus, with their ability to remember new information,” Lemoncello said. “They can get lost when they go out into the community. They can look like they’re maybe intoxicated because their vision is off or their balance is off. The world just does not have a good understanding of someone functioning and moving through the world with a brain injury.”
Sarah Bellum’s Bakery sells all-organic cupcakes, with gluten free and vegan options, and even a line of dog treats. The store, located at 7828 S.W. Capitol Highway, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
For more on the shop, or to learn about donating or volunteering, visit sarahbellumsbakery.org or call 971-249-2870.
— Samantha Swindler
At Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop, we are committed to social and environmental sustainability. To contribute to environmental sustainability, our clamshell containers are made of plant-based material, do not leach toxic chemicals, and quickly degrade in the trash (since clamshells are not currently recyclable or compostable in Portland). All of our cups, lids, straws, and utensils are biodegradable and non-toxic. We donate all “expired” baked goods to Urban Gleaners or food pantries for re-distribution to re-purpose them as they are still edible. We use low-energy light bulbs and conserve water. We compost food scraps and coffee grounds. We recycle containers. We have our own small sustainable, organic garden beds behind our bakery shop. All of our ingredients are organic, vegetarian, ethically sourced, and local where possible.
In terms of social sustainability, our mission is to provide work opportunities for adults with acquired brain injury to engage in the community. Moving into our brick-and-mortar shop in Multnomah Village in SW Portland has allowed us to expand and sustain year-round opportunities for our participants and crew. We believe meaningful purpose is critical to thriving after brain injury, and are committed to continuing to provide this safe and supportive environment where adults with acquired brain injury can grow, learn, and thrive.