FLINT, Michigan—What is it about donuts? Sure, it’s an early morning sweet. It’s simple. It’s easy to make, and at its core, its a community food, said Dallas Gatlin, executive director of Carriage Town Ministries.
Here, donuts and other baked goods are also a vehicle to transitional employment. Carriage Town, a homeless shelter and emergency services provider, opened its bakery two years offering job training, work experience and a path toward self-sufficiency.
Because the mission of Carriage Town Ministries is as much about creating an environment of change as it is about creating jobs — Gatlin’s vision kept expanding. Now, he has set his sights on revitalizing a chronically blighted space at 604 Garland Street with the sole purpose of bringing people together and adding new life to the neighborhood.
Located just down from Carriage Town Ministries and behind The Local Grocer, this will be the new home of Carriage Town Bakery featuring Blueline Donuts in 2021.
“That’s really placemaking —It’s creating a place where the neighborhood can gather, the city can be proud of it, over time it can develop a reputation … provide opportunity,” Gatlin said.
Over the past two years, the bakery has gained local familiarity, forming partnerships with Fosters coffee and Kettering University to put their baked goods in the hands of patrons on their way to work and students who need a quick breakfast. The bakery currently functions out of the Carriage Town Ministries cafeteria, where donuts are prepared as early as 4 a.m. and out for sale from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.