If you put together a top pastry chef, volunteers, and students with special needs with out a doubt something amazing will happen. This is what goes on everyday at The Friendship Circle Bakery. The idea initialized last October when when Rabbi Levi and Leah Stein, co-directors of Friendship Circle of Wisconsin—a division of Lubavitch of Wisconsin—realized that special needs students in their community were lacking work experience and vocational training in the real world. They approached local master pastry chef Dina Menzl-Russo, 50, to teach a comprehensive course.
After they found a industrial kitchen to bake from, The Friendship Circle Bakery was founded. Every week they have room for 3 students to come and train. The kitchen is stocked with lamented cards explaining everything. At the end of the summer, the students will receive a certificate of completion. In addition, this program will give these students the opportunity to earn money from their efforts.
“What makes Friendship Bakery unique is how much the community plays a role in the success of this endeavor,” explains Rabbi Stein. “Volunteers assist the trainees, forming a close friendship and working relationship, and in turn, our community has access to outstanding fresh-baked kosher pastries and breads. It’s a win-win for everyone.”