Diocesan outreach youth coordinator Clark Hardy announced on social media this week that “with a lot of sadness” TYP TOP Bakery is winding down its operations.
“Over the past year we were so grateful to receive a series of grants that enabled us to keep our youth employed throughout some of the worst parts of the pandemic,” said Hardy, founder and director of the Edmonton diocese’s Trinity Youth Project (TYP) . “However, our funding has run out, and we also had to find a new kitchen space. We were exploring a few possibilities for partnerships with other organizations but, ultimately, these haven’t worked out.”
TYP TOP Bakery is a social enterprise baking employment program that comes alongside vulnerable youth who have been marginalized. During the COVID-19 pandemic, TYP TOP helped meet the food security needs of youth through church outreach meal programs, such as the Manna Market at All Saints’ Cathedral; and the takeaway community lunches provided by the PrayerWorks ministry at St. Faith’s.
During Pride Month, TYP TOP baked rainbow cookies in support of vulnerable youth in the 2SLGBTQ+ community. The program also partnered with many local restaurants, including Baijiu and Biera, and coffee shops, such as The Dapper Beaver and Fringe Grounds Cafe, offering feature desserts and baked goods.
“I will dream about the berry babka you had at Easter for the rest of my life,” commented one satisfied customer on Facebook.
While operating at a downtown Edmonton farmers’ market, TYP TOP received support and recognition from local politician Janice Irwin, and a shout-out from her fellow NDP Caucus member David Shepherd on Twitter. The outreach program was featured on Global News Edmonton and in a Taproot Edmonton article by Sharon Yeo.
“We are so grateful to the amazing organizations, businesses and individuals that have supported us with space, finances, and of course, by purchasing our yummy baking. In doing so, each of you has helped improve the lives of youth facing barriers in our community,” said Hardy.
Hardy is taking time to reflect on the future of TYP TOP Bakery which he had hoped would grow into a self-sustaining social enterprise. For now, his focus is on helping youth in the baking program transition to other employment, as the program winds down its online orders and prepares for one more farmers’ market appearance.
“We don’t know what the future holds. Maybe this is goodbye, maybe this is bye for now. Either way, we thank you for all the love and support over the years!"