Washington University in St. Louis Dining Services has joined with St. Louis nonprofit bakery Bridge Bread to further provide job opportunities for people experiencing homelessness in the region.

Bridge Bread will provide a variety of baked goods—from freshly-baked bread for sandwiches to cinnamon rolls and brownies—across campus in the Millbrook and Paws & Go food outlets as well as the student dining hall, reaching up to nearly 3,200 potential customers daily. The partnership officially began Jan. 25, 2021.

“This new relationship exemplifies the culture of caring that is important to Washington University,” said Executive Chef Patrick McElroy, Washington University Dining Services. “At the same time, this partnership supports our core tenets of dining that include both community building and quality food choices for our students, faculty, staff and visitors. 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”

Since 2011, Bridge Bread has provided hope to homeless individuals by teaching them to bake bread and earn an income. The organization has employed nearly 50 individuals, more than half of which have remained housed and employed.

“We are really excited about forming this enterprise with Washington University in St. Louis to provide our outstanding bread and sweet goods to those on campus,” said Fred Domke, Bridge Bread founder and volunteer. “This has two-fold benefits: students receive a bit of taste of home during the ongoing pandemic and Bridge Bread bakers show that with a little bit of support, they can become valuable contributing members of the local community.”

“Washington University Dining Services is excited to partner with Bridge Bread,” said Andrew Watling, associate director of Washington University Dining Operations. “We are always looking for opportunities to support St. Louis through our programs and offerings on campus. With Bridge Bread, we found a vendor who fills a need we have on campus as well as does great work for the community.”