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Enactus, local shelter aims to help homelessness through baking

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Feb. 19, 2013

The state of Florida is home to one-third of America’s homeless families and a local shelter is doing their part to combat the problem with unlikely ammunition: pretzels.

St. Augustine’s St. Francis House has recently kicked off Passport Pretzels, a hybrid job-training program aimed at homeless men and women that will teach its participants to bake pretzels while learning culinary skills that will give them the certification necessary to get a job in the third fastest growing occupation in Florida, the food industry.

“Most homeless are families with children,” said Renee Morris, executive director of St. Francis House. “What these parents need is more than just shelter; they need jobs. Passport Pretzels will provide just that.”

Training for Passport Pretzels will take place in the St. Francis House kitchen with pretzels being sold around town from travel carts.

The average American consumes 1.5 pounds of pretzels each year and there is little to no competition in the St. Augustine community, giving Passport Pretzels a competitive advantage in this exceptionally promising market.

To launch the business, St. Francis House is teaming with Flagler College’s Enactus, and Indiegogo, an online funding platform, to acquire enough funds to provide employment to the residents and purchase the equipment and training necessary to get the homeless families out of the facility and on their own.

Enactus is an international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.

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