Haley House, Food With Purpose

 Video by: Shuyi Wang

At City Feed and Supply we have had the privilege of working with Haley House since 2000. After all, our missions align: to build community through the food that sustains us. But Haley House pastries aren’t just tasty; they provide opportunity for hundreds of disadvantaged people in our community. Here is a snap shot of Haley House’s amazing work!

Established in 1966, Haley House started in a small basement apartment on the South-end where Kathe and John McKenna took in men they found sleeping on the street. Haley House quickly opened a soup kitchen and in 1979 purchased a nearby rooming house to become the first homeless service provider in Boston that provided permanent affordable housing.

In 1983, Haley House expanded their work with food by starting an organic farm. Through Noonday Farm they were able to reconnect with the land and provide fresh produce for their soup kitchen.

In 1996, Haley House began the Bakery Training Program, teaching homeless men baking skills they could use to generate income. Today, the program has evolved into the Transitional Employment Program, which teaches job skills to men recently released from prison. In addition to employment, all participants of the program are required to pursue education. The Transitional Employment Program “upholds Haley House’s long tradition of creating opportunities for people striving to turn their lives around.”

In 2000 when we opened the first City Feed and Supply Didi Emmons, a local chef & restaurant developer approached us to see if we were interested in selling her whole wheat, bran & flax muffins loaded with fruit.  After one taste we said yes!  They were a huge hit with customers, since it was hard to find a healthier, tastier muffin than what Didi had created. After a few months of baking at 4:00 a.m. in the morning, Didi realized she was not a morning person and would not be able to keep making her delicious muffins for us.  But we LOVED them and wanted to keep carrying them, so we contacted The Haley House to see if they would be willing to make Didi’s recipe. They were willing to give it a try and created their first wholesale account with us.  We were thrilled, as we were able to keep selling Didi’s great whole-wheat muffins & Didi got to sleep in!

The relationship grew as Didi collaborated with The Haley House to make the pizza dough for her new restaurant, The Veggie Planet, opening in Cambridge in 2001. A few years later Didi would go to work for The Haley House as The Executive Chef for their new café opening in Roxbury.

Didi Emmons teaching youth in Roxbury at Haley House Café

City Feed and Supply is proud to offer Haley House muffins & we love the ties to the community that have helped us get to where we are at today.

Today, Haley House is a multifaceted non-profit that runs a bakery, soup kitchen, organic farm, food pantry, catering services and four educational and training programs.

After 45 years, Haley House still holds true to their passion, using food as a vehicle to alleviate suffering, build skills, and to bring communities together.

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