Finding Inspiration in Every Turn
Like many non-profit organizations, we began through the initiatives of a few people wanting to make a difference in people's lives. It is through those milestones that we have become what we are today.
The Maple House Bakery and Café is a Social Enterprise of Community Inclusions. A non-profit organization that works with adults with intellectual disabilities.
When customers enter our bakery & café, they see a bustling little café that seats up to 30 patrons but there is much more to Maple House than meets the eye.
“A lot of people come in and see a café and a bakery; that’s all they see,” says Laurie Ann Waite, manager of the Maple House Centre day program for the Community inclusions-run facility. For the most part, customers only see the Maple House Bakery & Café staff and some of the clients who work in the café.
Behind the scenes, there is a beehive of activity where meals and baked goods are prepared. Further back, staff work at our day program supporting clients one-on-one and focusing on life and employability skills. The Maple House Centre works with more than a dozen clients with intellectual challenges from across West Prince, who attend the day program every week. On any given day, there are approximately 14 staff and 10 to 14 clients in the building.
Maple House Bakery had been around for years and well known by community members as a bakery, but in 2014, realized they were outgrowing its tiny building on Gaspe Road. After renovating the old O'Leary liquor store, the group moved in on February 29th of 2016, adding the café.
Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey and district MLA Rob Henderson were on hand for the official opening. Funding for the new building came from the federal government, the province, and the organization.
In an interview with Saltwire; “It’s a different dynamic,” said Community Inclusions executive director Kevin Porter.
“They all kind of work together. This is a social enterprise of the Maple House Bakery and Café and Community Inclusions. It’s meant to work together,” he said.
“It can be challenging, but there’s so much to learn. It’s such a neat environment. We’re so lucky to have it."
One of those challenges has been finding enough workers to operate all components of the building.
“We’re feeding customers, doing take-out orders on the phone, and we always have to be prepared for the next day,” Waite said.
The expansion has been very well accepted within the community, with many more customers coming through the front door. It has also brought a better understanding of the important service that Community Inclusions provides to West Prince.
Maple House Bakery & Café provides our young community members employment opportunities that are close to home. It also offers individuals who may be semi retired a way to supplement their income by working casual or part time.
The key benefit that many have stated that Maple House provides the most is an opportunity to be part of something bigger. Being able to be part of the team of Community Inclusions and the service that they provide by working side by side in the bakery & café with persons with intellectual disabilities and becoming a mentor in providing life skills is one of the best! Our bakery assistants, café attendants and grill cooks help Community Inclusions show our clients that you can take an everyday life skill and use it to gain employment, and make it a career that gives back to your community. How great is that!