By: Sue Pierman
To celebrate its second anniversary as a non-profit, My Choice Family Care selected Friendship Bakery and LilyWorks Catering, which provide community employment to people with special needs, to provide food for its event.
“We thought it was important to choose these vendors because we support community- based employment for our members with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities,” said My Choice Chief Operations Officer Betsy Van Heesch.
Easter Seals of Southeast Wisconsin’s LilyWorks Catering provided lunch, while Friendship Bakery created the cake for the celebration.
Larry Millard, hospitality manager at LilyWorks Catering, stressed the importance of local companies supporting the program. “Every time someone hires Lilyworks, they are helping our participants gain the skills to gain employment, and they are learning both hard and soft job skills,” he said.
Working at events like the My Choice celebration gives LilyWorks participants the ability to learn how to interact with customers and to overcome any nervousness. “It’s a fantastic opportunity,” Millard explained.
LilyWorks Catering and Conference Center is a comprehensive, hands-on program providing real-world training in the food service industry in a fully operational banquet and conference center in Waukesha. Its trainees are equipped to succeed in work settings such as hospitals, hotels, schools, cafeterias and restaurants.
Rabbi Levi Stein, the director of Friendship Circle, agrees that support from local businesses is vital for his program’s participants. “By ordering from Friendship Bakery, you’re not only getting exceptional desserts, you’re also supporting a good cause. You are giving adults with special needs an opportunity to have a job, and you are changing their lives and paving the way for many more people to get this opportunity.”
Three times a week, students have the opportunity to learn the skills needed to operate a bakery, from mixing ingredients, decorating desserts, to packaging finished products and delivering the pastries.
Friendship Bakery in Glendale equips participants with valuable skills for employment and builds independence and self-esteem, while also giving trainees the opportunity to earn a small percentage from sales.
Friendship Bakery is a project of The Friendship Circle of Wisconsin, a division of Lubavitch of Wisconsin.