Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop is a social enterprise bakery that supports adults with brain injury to return to work and life by baking delicious, hand-crafted cupcakes. Sarah Bellum's was founded by Dr. Rik Lemoncello, Associate Professor of Speech-Language Pathology at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR. As an avid self-taught baker and a clinician/researcher interested in supporting adults with brain injuries, he has dreamed of opening this bakery since earning his PhD at the University of Oregon in 2008. His vision has been to open a bakery staffed by adults with brain injury to support them in returning to work, play, and life! Through his involvement with the local (Portland, OR) brain injury community, and a generous award from Pacific University, this program began development in 2016, and officially launched in summer 2017.
In the summer of 2017, we began baking and selling once weekly. Four bakers with brain injury each made several dozen cupcakes, including preparation, baking, and decorating, at a commercial rental kitchen in downtown Portland. The bakers then took their product to the OHSU Farmer's Market at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland to sell them on Tuesdays in June, July, and August. Each baker was coached by a graduate student in the Pacific University speech-language pathology master's program while Dr. Lemoncello supervised the graduate students and managed the entire program.
As we continued to expand and grow, we took our program to a bigger scale in the summer of 2018. With ten different bakers/sales people who survived an acquired brain injury and support volunteer students from speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and rehabilitation psychology programs at three different universities, we baked up even more varieties of delicious cupcakes. At the height of the summer, we brought our fabulous cupcakes to five different local farmer's markets. By the end of the summer, we were preparing twenty different varieties of cupcakes, which helped to introduce flexibility into the kitchen training workshop. We continue to fill custom orders with free delivery service, and were most excited to provide cupcakes for two weddings and several local events.
In the fall of 2018, serendipity continued to align further development as a retail space "found us." Situated in the heart of Multnomah Village in SW Portland, an ideal space opened up that allowed us to expand our services and opportunities in our own "brick and mortar" shop. With the generous support of our donors and sponsors, we raised over $50,000 in September 2018 to renovate this leased space, purchase equipment, and build a commercial kitchen and retail café space. Work was completed in December 2018, and we officially opened our doors for sales on December 11, 2018. With a permanent space that is customized for our operations, we are able to provide ongoing, individualized supports, routine and structure, and expanded opportunities for adults with acquired brain injury to get involved in return-to-work training and supports.
Goals & Purpose
The primary goal at Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop is to assist adults with acquired brain injury to develop functional, job-ready social, cognitive, and physical skills to assist with ongoing development and rehabilitation in a functional, real-world setting. Routine, repetition, customized set-up, and individualized coaching all help to support learning and development for our bakers and sales team, even many years after sustaining severe brain injuries. In addition, students from a variety of programs learn through direct experience: how brain injury can affect a person in their everyday context, how to support individuals with acquired brain injury in functional tasks, and how to collaborate on interdisciplinary teams to provide best practices after brain injury. And, let's not forget the other important goal... to deliver outstanding cupcakes to our customers while also improving public awareness of brain injury.
Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization (Federal EIN 82-4548535). We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We do not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion (creed), gender, gender identity or expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.
Mission: To provide return-to-work opportunities for adults with acquired brain injury through baking and selling amazing baked treats.
Vision: A world with competitive, gainful employment for every adult with brain injury who wants to work.
Values: Collaboration, Integration, Purpose, Human Connection, Diversity, Sustainability
Sarah Bellum's Board of Directors:
Rik Lemoncello, President
Mark Palardy, Treasurer
Heather Andersen, Secretary
Thank you for your interest in Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop!