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Bread of Life

A learning and fellowship program helps single mothers better provide for their families

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BY KRISTIN OSTENSEN, STAFF WRITER

Fresh Ideas Fresh is a learning and fellowship program for single mothers that is co-ordinated by Jane Ash, community ministries worker, who also supervises the food bank. Working with many mothers who were raising children on their own, Ash found that the women wanted to provide better food for their families, but lacked the resources and know-how to do so. “A family of one to four can get a loaf of bread at the food bank or a bag of flour and yeast,” Ash explains. “The reality is that with flour and yeast you can make five loaves of bread. So a lot of the moms were saying to me, ‘If I knew how to make bread, I would take the flour and yeast.’ ” With a good-sized kitchen and eating area, the social services centre was just the 18 • August 2014 • Salvationist

Photos: Kristin Ostensen

hen Judy Young arrives at The Salvation Army’s social services offices in Corner Brook, N.L., on a Wednesday morning, the smell of chocolate chip muffins fills the hallways. It’s nearly 10 a.m., and Young is one of several young mothers gathered for Fresh. The still-warm ovens heat the brightly coloured room where the women meet, a welcoming atmosphere that immediately puts her at ease. “I feel accepted and loved here,” Young smiles. “I feel like it’s my home.” Judy Young enjoys a cup of coffee at Fresh

Most of my life I could never accomplish anything because I was always put down. So when I made bread, it was like, “I did that!” right venue for a cooking program. Thirty-five loaf pans were donated so that the participants could make bread at home, after they learned how, and the Fresh program was born. “We called it ‘Fresh’ as in fresh ideas—fresh homemade bread, fresh healthy snacks for school, fresh fruit for the moms every week, and more,” Ash explains. Baking bread is at the heart of Fresh, but the program also teaches life skills

such as budgeting, nutrition, stress management and parenting strategies. Crafting activities give the women opportunities to be creative, showing them how to make low-cost scarves, jewelry and cards. “I Can Be Myself” A mother of children aged nine and 13, Young has been a client at the food bank for the past year. When Ash invited her to join Fresh last fall, she initially saw it

as an opportunity to meet new people. “I used to be an outgoing person, but because of past relationships, I’ve become quiet and withdrawn,” she says. “I thought Fresh would help me get out of my shell.” The program is kept small—eight participants are registered for each eightweek session—so that the women can build strong relationships with each other and with the program facilitators. Coming to Fresh has given Young a reason to get out of the house and the rut she had fallen into. “I love the people here,” Young says. “I find that when I’m here, I can be myself, and I like it.” One of the highlights of the program for Young has been learning to make


Salvationist - August 2014