The IRC in Atlanta is proud to partner with Just Bakery of Atlanta, a nonprofit organization that trains, certifies and employs local refugees to make and sell a delicious selection of pastries, bread and other baked goods! With part-time hours and a high hourly wage of $15, employment with Just Bakery provides an attractive and flexible option for many IRC clients who are able to earn good salaries while balancing the work with other education and family commitments.
IRC Career Development Coordinator, Aisha Johnson, has worked closely with Just Bakery since its inception to connect the right clients to the trainee baker roles. Originally from Nepal, Bhima has lived in the U.S. for more than a decade and is now an American citizen. When she’s not baking she tutors local elementary students, and has dreams of one day owning her own bakery. Sisto, a young man in his early twenties originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is currently earning his high-school diploma, and is successfully balancing his studies with his work schedule. Also from the DRC, Carmel arrived in the U.S. three years ago with her husband and young family. With her husband working full-time, her position at Just Bakery allows her to contribute financially to the household while balancing Mom duties! Finally, Joy, who came to the U.S. from the DRC by way of Uganda, was a perfect fit for Just Bakery with her previous experience in sales and customer service – she owned a thrift store in Uganda where she would revive and re-sell items during her summer breaks from school! Currently studying nursing at Georgia State University, Joy is excited to once again interact with customers in a business setting.
Just Bakery of Atlanta Executive Director, Leah Lonsbury, reflects on the work that’s gone into this successful first year: “Most of the time, a great majority of it doesn't feel like work to me,” she said. “That's because it helps to uphold the beautiful work our trainee bakers and Head Baker are doing in the kitchen as they learn, grow in community, and open doors for their futures and their families. I see and hear that when I'm with them, and I experience it when I work sales that bring me face-to-face with our eager and supportive customers.”
The Just Bakery team sell the fruits of their labor at local farmers markets and special events around Atlanta. Now a consistent fixture at Oakhurst Market, every Thursday and Saturday, be sure to like Just Bakery of Atlanta on Facebook and keep an eye on their event page to find out when you can next pick up incredible treats like sesame sourdough, rosemary and garlic aged Gouda rolls, chocolate chip and sea salt cookies, and Bhima’s own Nepalese Jeera cumin shortbread!
Bhima’s message for current and future Just Bakery customers? “Your little help by buying one cookie makes someone productive and gives them a bright future. I would like to say thank you for being our loyal customer and so a part of our extended Just Bakery family. Please keep supporting us so we can bring a change in our community by giving more jobs.”
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.