Want to spoil your dog with delicious, all-natural pet treats while helping out homeless teens? You can, by purchasing products from Lindy & Company, a gourmet pet bakery located in Dayton, Ohio.
The bakery, which opened in October 2012, is an inspiring social enterprise created by Daybreak, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency shelter, outreach programs, transitional housing, and other vital services to Dayton’s homeless and transient youth population.
Participating in Daybreak’s employment program at Lindy & Company allows the teens to develop valuable work skills in a supervised setting, and it helps them to become more autonomous and self-confident. With the training and professional experience they gain from working at the bakery, the teens have a much better chance of finding permanent jobs afterward and overcoming homelessness.
And the training these teens receive at the bakery is quite diverse and very hands-on. When they arrive for their shift, the young employees meet with the head bakers and get assigned their tasks for the day. Tasks that include mixing the all-natural ingredients, rolling out the dough, individually hand-cutting all the treats before baking, packaging, storing, and keeping an inventory of the treat bags.
“We have approximately 20 youth working two different shifts at the bakery,” says Tena Mitchell, the sales director for Lindy & Company Gourmet Pet Treat Bakery. “We produce about 200 to 250 pounds of treats daily, and they are the best your pet will ever taste!”
While Lindy & Company’s four-legged customers love the taste of these quality gourmet treats, their humans have the opportunity to customize the packaging of their orders and even the shape of the treats. There is also a “dog treat of the month” club that ships two bags of treats to your door for three months. It’s a great gift idea for a pet-loving friend!
From treats with names like Cheddar Chompers and Yogurt Peanutty Puppers (gluten free), to bite-sized training treats made with apples and cheese, to tuna-flavored snacks for cats, there’s something for every pet in Lindy & Company’s range.
“While we know that first and foremost our mission is to serve our youth, we believe we have a product that demonstrates quality and excellence,” says Mitchell. “Our goal is to get a Lindy’s treat to every pet out there.” To do just that, Lindy & Company regularly reaches out to distributors and retailers across the United States to carry its product, and it currently works with 12 local retailers along with one distributor on the West coast and another on the East coast.
And just who is Lindy, the bakery’s namesake?
She’s a beautiful Golden Retriever whose owners were a big part of Daybreak’s startup effort to bring an employment program to Dayton’s homeless youth. Mitchell says that Lindy and her owners have continued their involvement and are extremely supportive of the youth participating in the program. “Lindy is our special ‘donor’ angel. She’s active and loving and her favorite treat is our Apples and Cheese.”
The program has received a lot of support from the Dayton community as well, and Mitchell says that Lindy & Company is always successful at local events during the summer. “We attend several shows and festivals all summer long, and the youth who volunteer and other volunteers make these events possible,” she says. “They do a wonderful job promoting the product and interacting with the community.”
But in order to roll up their sleeves and roll out the dough at Lindy & Company, the homeless teens have to go through a recruitment process like for any other job.
“All youth working through our employment program at Lindy’s have to follow a competitive work protocol,” Mitchell explains. “They are interviewed and, once hired, have to go through a thorough training orientation in order to work at the bakery.”
But all that hard work and dedication can really pay off, and it has for people like Megan.
Megan was one of the first employees at Lindy & Company. Soon after arriving at Daybreak, the quiet, reserved teen who had difficulty asking for help signed up for the organization’s employment program in order to learn about what it takes to get, and keep, a job.
Her time at Lindy & Company taught her valuable work skills, such as punctuality, that eventually allowed her to build her confidence and skill set in order to find secure employment following her placement at the bakery.
“I wasn’t so great [at being on time] at first,” Megan says, “but with help from the staff, I learned that being punctual is a must. They also helped me learn how to be responsible and act appropriately.”
Megan is just one of Dayton’s at-risk youths who has greatly benefitted from employment at Lindy & Company. Mitchell explains that working at the bakery is so much more than just a paycheck for its young employees. They learn to take pride in their work by producing a quality product, all while taking steps to become self-sufficient and productive members of society.
“We plan to increase awareness and distribution of our treats so that we can continue to serve our community’s homeless youth who are in need of work skills and development. Our ultimate goal is that the program becomes self-sustaining and we can increase the types of responsibilities and job skills as we branch out into bigger markets.”
Lindy & Company is located at 823 Wayne Ave. in Dayton, Ohio. If can’t stop by in person, the company’s treats are available at these retailers and through its website (nationwide shipping available for the United States).
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About Crystal Gibson: A child-sized Canadian expat in France who is fluent in French and sarcasm. Owned by a neurotic Doxie mix, a Garfield look-alike, and two needy Sphynx cats. An aspiring writer and pet photographer with a love of coffee and distaste for French administration, she can be found as @PinchMom over on Twitter.