I recently read about this ministry on a post at the Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics ( IFWE article ). Mission Muffins is designed to “empower homeless and employment-challenged individuals to start new lives full of hope, meaning and achievement,” ( Mission Muffins ).This is a ministry located in Washington DC that sells muffins to nearby office buildings. Their employees learn baking, retail, marketing and business skills. They are able to stay Central Union Mission’s homeless shelter and save their wages while they look for permanent housing. At the same time, they are treated with respect, a recognition that each individual has inherent, unique skills and talents that are worthwhile. They are taught basic business skills, such as accounting and marketing, as well as soft business skills, such as punctuality and respect for authority.
The backgrounds of individuals involved in the ministry includes different levels of personal struggles; some have served time in jail, some have been drug dealers, some have been homeless, some have suffered from trauma or depression. They have learned that they can, regardless of their struggles, have success and value as individuals through their interactions at Mission Muffins.
I think one of the biggest takeaways I had of this ministry was the recognition that change can occur, when we are willing to work together and treat people as individuals. The ministry is not about “fixing” people, it is about helping individuals who have come to a point where they recognize they are broken, meeting them in mutual brokenness, and working to show that regardless of anyone’s past there can be value in the future. Mission Muffins does this through learning the value of labor based on a person’s skills, transitioning from a focus on dependence (“Will work for food”) to responsibility (“Will Work for my Future”).
The efforts of many community members to make the “Bridges Out of Poverty” program a success locally are centered around some of these same goals. I encourage you to look at the IFWE article, as well as the Mission Muffins website, and be encouraged to see how people can work together as a community to become stronger as a whole.