Pay it Forward: Bakery helps people struggling with addiction 'flourish'

Pay it Forward: Bakery helps people struggling with addiction 'flourish' (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) A nonprofit program is helping people turn their lives around, through baking.

Flourish Bakery helps people who have suffered with addiction or been incarcerated--often both.

The bakery employs interns who learn both job and life skills through the program.

"It's more than a job, it's about joining a community," said Aimee Altizer, who is the executive director. "A community that is looking to do healing and sobriety in our lives."

Altizer and a few others started developing this program for five years, but recently opened Flourish Bakery in January.

They have four paid interns in the baking program right now, including AJ Collette.

"I spent a large portion of my life in and out of prison," he said.

He was struggling with an addiction when it came time to make an important decision.

"I was sitting in jail, knowing about this company, wanting to be here so badly, and I just made a decision to stop doing the things I was doing," Collette said.

When he finishes his year-long internship, he will work in a restaurant or hotel as part of a so-called "externship."

Then he hopes to come back to Flourish Bakery.

"This company gave me an opportunity to change my life, and I love them for that," he said.

In order to help Flourish Bakery raise some more "dough," Mountain America Credit Union donated $500 to the program.

Right now, the bakery operates out of a kitchen at Salt Lake Community College. Later this year, they will be moving to a permanent location at 300 West Gregson Avenue in South Salt Lake.

They do take orders. For a menu and more information, go to the Flourish Bakery website or Facebook page.