Admitting it right out of the gate. Inviting me to do a story about a bakery is not exactly a hard sell. I've been known to enjoy a little of the culinary arts when it comes to the sweet pastry side of things and walking past a cake, cookie or pie without at very least a sample, well, I'd be insulting the chef, right? So when Davine Calkins asked if I'd be interested in helping tell the story about what's going on with she and her husband at the 490 Bakery, I was already in at the cookie part, but with Davine, these's a bit behind the scenes you might not know about.
The 490 Bakery has a dual purpose. Yes, everything is made with "Grandma's recipe's" and quality standards and like so many other of our amazing culinary engineers here in town, the purpose behind the product is to bring people together over something they enjoy. That's food and that's what it's supposed to do. There's more to the story at 490 though. Davine also works at Fresh Coast Alliance here in Muskegon and their work is to help prevent those who have spent time incarcerated from repeating that. The "big word" for that is "recidivism" meaning going back to jail over and over and not being able to break the cycle. So often, when someone gets out, they don't really have the skills they need to change all they have ever known. Not only could they be missing the life skills, they might not be able to find employment due to their record and without much hope of changing things on the surface, making the deep changes needed to make amends to yourself and others is a very long road to travel.
The 490 Bakery not only tries to help those coming out of jail find gainful employment, they are given the chance to see that they can accomplish something in an environment that understands that sometimes a situation led to what caused the problem for someone as opposed to someone just being a bad apple and beyond hope. Steps are taken to teach soft skills like managing time, being prompt, following instructions and seeing results. There are also opportunities for people to learn how to run a business along the way and most important of all, through all of this, they get to see, and maybe even for the first time...that what's already in them is pretty amazing and that they can do more than they ever thought because the spark of someone taking a chance on them, gave them just enough belief in themselves to light the flame. This is where the cycle stops. This is where people are healed and things like poverty, hopelessness and strife start to peel away. This brings purpose and pride and it instills the beginnings of the belief that maybe someday, the same can be passed along again. This is power to change hearts, minds and communities.
Davine joind up for a chat about her work at the bakery as well as the Fresh Coast Alliance and how they work together. A portion of the proceeds from the 490 Bakery help fund the work of Fresh Coast, and while they are distinctly seperate, blending some of the work....that can't really hurt. Take a listen.
It's an an amazing way to share grace and offer a new way forward to someone who may have never heard anything else other than "no" or "you can't" their entire life. People can and people do when there's a little belief put in them and in turn, they find a way to see more in themselves then they even imagined possible. All of this is going on while delicious cookies are made for events large and small, the retail end of things at the Muskegon Farmers Market, Boomtown Market or, the online store of the 490 Bakery....which by the way, you'll find linked right below! Order a box or two today and support some amazing things going on right here in Muskegon. if you're not all that excited about ordering online, you can always call too. 231-329-2756