A unique partnership between The Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta Hotel and AB Mauri North America is enabling the nonprofit bakery Bridge Bread to provide job opportunities for people experiencing homelessness in St. Louis.
Since 2011, Bridge Bread has provided hope to homeless individuals by teaching them to bake bread and earn an income. The organization has employed 40 individuals, more than half of which have remained housed and employed.
The Chase recently came on board through its partnership with AB Mauri. AB Mauri serves as a bakery ingredient supply partner for Bridge Bread as well as a customer of The Chase Park Plaza for out-of-town business guests visiting the St. Louis region.
The Chase will purchase roughly 30,000 bread items for events and banquets held at the hotel throughout the year.
Frederik Houben, director of sales & marketing for The Chase Park Plaza, said thanks to their business relationship with AB Mauri, the hotel is building upon a solid humanitarian partnership with Bridge Bread and helping its neighbors rebuild their lives in St. Louis. “Three local organizations coming together to help tackle homelessness is a win-win-win,” he said. “This partnership exemplifies the culture of caring that lives within The Chase.”
Additionally, the partnership with The Chase allows Bridge Bread to hire two additional bakers.
"Bridge Bread Bakery is really excited about partnering with The Chase Park Plaza to make dinner rolls using advanced technology provided by our mutual friends at AB Mauri,” said Fred Domke, president, founder and volunteer of Bridge Bread. “Working together we will give our bakers the opportunity to prove with first-class baked goods that people experiencing homelessness are not 'throw-away' people. With a little support, they can become valuable contributing members of our community.”
AB Mauri’s team of baking and food technology scientists has worked closely with the Bridge Bread baking unit on a number of baked goods for several years—including Bridge Bread’s iconic cinnamon rolls, braided brioche, dinner rolls, full loaves and more.
Bridge Bread products are distributed through 60 churches in the St. Louis metro area, in addition to universities and high schools.
AB Mauri President Mark Prendergast, who serves on the board for Bridge Bread, said it is rewarding to not only play a significant role in the industrial baking business across the U.S. and Canada, but also to have an opportunity to make an important impact locally with Bridge Bread.
“This is an organization we truly believe in, and to see someone go from homelessness to leading an independent life as an artisanal baker is especially gratifying,” he said.