The Beginning

In December of 2015, the doors opened for business at Scarlet’s Bakery on 741 East Oak Street.  I entered as a volunteer, admiring the beauty of the clean white interior. I admired the beauty of the clean white interior, the artistic pictures proudly displayed on the wall of employees performing baking tasks, and the bright red chef’s coats worn by three women whose previous jobs were dancing for men in strip clubs or serving as a prostitute for their “boyfriend.” These sights were, quite frankly, overwhelming.

And yet, because of the grace of God and the generosity of hundreds of people, Scarlet’s Bakery now operates three locations, all designed to continue the mission that God gave to Rachelle Starr over ten years ago – to share the hope and love of Jesus to women who have been exploited.

Restoring Dignity

The eight women in the bakery today are not the same women that were there on our opening day, but the goals for them remain the same. Scarlet’s Bakery gives these ladies a place to be treated with the dignity, respect, and love that they deserve as precious children of the King.

One of our main objectives is to help them accomplish skills they can use to gain employment once they leave the cocoon of safety at Scarlet Hope. Not only are these women able to learn how to bake and to be a barista, but they are also taught how to handle stressful situations well, how to work as part of a team, and how to take pride in learning a skill that can propel them to a new life. For instance, many of these women may go on to work as restaurant managers, drug and alcohol counselors, college students, or members of the Scarlet Hope staff.

The bakery instills newfound respect for time management, responsibility, accountability for self and others, as well as how to recognize how God works in their lives.

Scarlet's Bakery is a safe place to learn, to grow, and to become whole again.

I’ve Seen Her

When I heard about the “I See Her” campaign, I couldn’t help but think of these truths I’ve witnessed while volunteering at Scarlet’s Bakery:

I’ve seen her come to us with literally no hope and no idea of how she would ever assimilate into “normal” society. 

I’ve watched her cower in fear when an unknown man enters the building to fix the HVAC system.

I’ve held her as she cried because one of her Scarlet Hope sisters overdosed on heroin.

On the other hand, I’ve experienced pride and joy as she graduated from our Career Development Program, ready to move on to the next chapter in her life.

I’ve rejoiced with her when she got a scholarship to Sullivan Culinary School.

Oh, yes, I’ve seen her, and it has been an experience that I wouldn’t change for the world.

Submitted by Regina Cook-Pfeiffer, Scarlet Hope/Scarlet’s Bakery Volunteer

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