NIBbles: The Haley House Bakery Café–Healthy Food for All

Listen to Kathe McKenna’s discussion with Net Impact Boston.

Kathe McKennaHaley House executive director Kathe McKenna is a visionary; she looks at the empty lot across the street from the Haley House Bakery Café and sees the first green restaurant in Boston…She can talk business but she is adamant that all profits be made in socially responsible way without deviating from their mission as a social service provider. The Haley House deliberately runs its soup kitchen in the South End as a needed reminder in an affluent neighborhood of the people who are at the bottom, and opened its café in Roxbury to provide healthy food to people who don’t have access to it.

In its third year, the Haley House Bakery Café, the social enterprise arm of the non-profit, embodies the positive impact that a social enterprise can have on a local community. The striking art on the walls portrays black youth in a positive way, the friendly wait staff and cooks are graduates of the job training program, the specials on the menu are inspired by seasonal produce from their organic farm, cooking classes bring together youth from different ethnic backgrounds to prepare and share healthy traditional foods as part of a gang prevention program.

The Haley House had its beginnings in 1966 when Kathe and her husband welcomed homeless men into their South End apartment and over the years what was a volunteer-run service provider matured into a robust non-profit organization that offers a variety of programs to support people in their move toward economic independence and meaningful lives.

What are the keys to The Haley House’s success? The quality of its product–healthy, delicious and affordable food–speaks for itself, and the Haley House’s strong community presence has allowed it to maximize local partnerships and address the most pressing social problems.

While the Haley House Bakery Café business model provides healthy food at affordable prices, you may be interested in reading about the SAME Café, a Denver nonprofit with a similar mission that uses a pay-what-you-can model.

Net Impact Boston wants to go back to the Haley House Bakery Café and we want those of you who couldn’t join us for Kathe’s talk to have a chance to experience the cafe. Please join us for our upcoming NIB Mix and Mingle at the Haley House Bakery Café. Also, if you are planning an event, keep in mind the Haley House catering service or consider renting their beautiful space which can hold up to 100 people.

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