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Baking Tasty Treats to Help Those in Recovery

March 21, 2022 By mguragac

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Flourish Bakery, located in Midvale, Utah, is the only “second-chance” long-term recovery workforce reentry program in the state. The venture started in 2017 when leaders from faith, culinary, and rehabilitation groups came together to help people in recovery, especially those previously incarcerated. The group established a paid internship program to help stabilize those on the road to recovery by teaching them professional baking skills. Flourish took its first group of interns in 2018 and has continued the program ever since.

Interns with Flourish learn how to make various tasty baked goods as they continue their path to recovery. Participants gain the skills to make everything from scones and cookies to quiches and caramel corn. The program’s goal is to have participants hone a new craft to support steady employment.

Interns with Flourish learn about the program from family and friends, treatments centers, drug courts, or representatives from regional jails. While Flourish provides one part of the equation to help these folks as they work to stabilize their lives, participants in the program face a number of other challenges. Individuals with substance use disorders and a history of incarceration have limited access to housing, education, and healthcare in Utah. Fortunately, Flourish is part of a strong recovery community that works to fill in the gaps where services fall short. 

In addition to learning baking skills, Flourish provides other services to help participants in the program avoid substance use and reincarceration. This includes a daily group reflection and communal meal, access to mental health counseling, a membership to a local gym, a weekly writing group, and a focus on financial wellness through services provided by a local credit union.

At the end of their internships, individuals work with staff at Flourish Bakery to identify and apply for opportunities related to their newly developed skills. Staff help to identify places where participants can complete a three-month externship. Previous externships have taken place at treatment centers, artisan bakeries, and luxury hotels. Often these externships turn into full-time employment.

The opioid epidemic has hit Utah particularly hard. Currently, five Utahans die every week from opioid overdoses. Many individuals Flourish works with had their substance use disorder begin with medically prescribed opioids. This makes the organization’s mission even more vital as it can provide a bridge to long-term recovery for those suffering from a substance abuse disorder.

Many might be wondering what Flourish’s most popular item is. The Jalapeno-Cheddar biscuits are their most ordered product and were voted “Best in Salt Lake City” by the City Weekly Newspaper. If you or someone you know is interested in applying to be an intern with Flourish, you can find the application online here.

Voices for Non-Opioid Choices is proud to have Flourish Bakery as one of our coalition members and appreciates the organization’s work to help community members in Utah. If you are interested in learning more or ordering some of their delicious treats, you can check out their website here.