Baking Blessings-A sweet story rising at Randy Sam’s

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by Pam Kumpe
Tribune Feature Writer

A year ago, no one would believe you if you had said that Randy Sam’s Homeless Shelter in Texarkana would become home to a bakery, staffed by its own residents, and producing top-notch cupcakes in demand. But it’s true! And the homeless at Church under the Bridge are witnesses to this fact!
And yes, this bakery is now taking orders! And this bakery delivers!
They have all types of cupcakes and new bakers in the kitchen at the shelter, and they are ready to bake your specialties, and ready to create beautiful cupcakes just for you.
The name is Be the Blessing Bakery at Randy Sam’s, which in at 402 Oak Street, said executive director, Jennifer Laurent.
“Last year, volunteer and friend to all, Cathy Smith, embarked on a journey to teach our people how to make homemade biscuits. Cathy is someone who takes on a project, and amazing things unfold. We not only mastered the biscuits, we discovered some real talent in our commercial-size kitchen,” Laurent said.
The journey became as natural as adding ingredients when the idea for making cupcakes became a reality, instead of just a dream. Add a little flour and sugar and some bakers, and the cupcakes appeared like frosting, with designs and with a tasty sweet goodness.
Even last Saturday, a local business purchased 100 cupcakes and the team of bakers and some of the staff from Randy Sam’s delivered them to Church under the Bridge for the homeless.
Laurent said, “We are learning as we go, and Roger is good with the fine points in the kitchen. Drew is great with the icing, and he lights up when he’s decorating. And Stephen has the marketing skills and can make a sale. They make a great team.”
Smith, who loves the kitchen, is known for being on site and for simply guiding the team, but she’s quick to say, “Roger, Drew, and Steven are doing everything. This is all them, and they are little works of art.”
Laughing, Smith said, “The cupcakes are works of art. The cupcakes are beautiful. Well, the whole thing is amazing.”
The employment opportunity for the residents is important and gives them skills and a way to work, right at the shelter.
“When they get to work, baking, I was to get out of their way so they could create their masterpieces,” Laurent said. “And boy, have they. Seeing Drew’s face when he’s working on the cupcakes is priceless, too. And seeing all of them work together to do this is great. They even have their baking shirts now.”
This core group of bakers is getting paid, and the shelter has added something that’s encouraging others, and it’s got everyone talking. The cupcakes are cheaper than some of the other local places, and fresh and yummy. They are decorated with precise purpose and designs from chocolate swirls to strawberries on top.
Laurent said donations are welcome to help them with the continued need for supplies for baking the cupcakes.
She and Smith both agreed that they love how underneath their noses were cupcake bakers/artists, who started with biscuits and blossomed into cupcakes master bakers.
“Who would have ever thought we’d have a bakery here? And that we’d have Lori, in the kitchen too, to be with our bakers, and of course, Cathy to get them going? This gives our people a resume, confidence, and skills beyond anything we could imagine,” Laurent added.
To place your order, call Laurent at 903-792-7024 at the shelter or her cell phone at 903-280-2289 to get a price list, and to get your cupcakes for your next party or event.

 

In the photo, Roger, Drew, and Steven  are the cupcake chefs at Randy Sam’s who are using their culinary skills to create the edible masterpieces that are now available at Be the Blessing Bakery.
 

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