You now have one less reason to feel guilty about digging into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s this upcoming Valentines Day.
Anyone who has ever purchased the brand’s chunk-filled pints of Half Baked or Chocolate Fudge Brownie has helped New York’s Greyston Bakery — which bakes the brownies that are buried in some of Ben and Jerry’s most popular flavours — employ the most unemployable people in America.
Greyston, which is located in Yonkers, New York, has made it their mission to hire ex-convicts, the homeless, recovering addicts, and anyone else with a rough past who has had trouble finding work.
Greyston offers subsidized housing, childcare, and nutrition education classes to its workers.
All of the bakery’s profits go to its nonprofit parent organisation, the Greyston Foundation, which uses the money to give back to the community by maintaining local gardens and health clinics, and offering free job training programs to the community’s needy, Yahoo’s Rachel Tepper reported last month.
About 85 employees currently work at the bakery, where the motto is “brownies plus cookies equals jobs.” Starting as a social experiment in 1982, the bakery has since helped thousands of individuals get back on their feet, account manager Sunitha Malieckal told Yahoo.
The bakery holds open hiring days every other week, where individuals are hired largely on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are no background checks, and no pre-hiring screenings. The employees start out as apprentices and are hired by the bakery full-time if they prove they can handle the heat — literally.
The temperature on the “brownie line” can reach 90 degrees, CBS reported, and with more than 30,000 pounds pounds of brownies being made for Ben and Jerry’s every day, the work can get repetitive.
Still, employees are grateful to Greyston for helping them turn their lives around, and many stick around. In 2012, Greyston offered 181 people full-time employment under the Open Hire program, according to a report the organisation released detailing its social impact. The report estimates that by keeping these individuals out of jail, the bakery’s hiring policies saved the county government an estimated $US1.1 million.
“We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people,” the bakery’s website declares proudly. And with the demand for Half Baked not expected to dwindle anytime soon, it’s safe to say the company will only continue to expand.
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