MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Bridges Foundation in Tulsa opens a 'barkery' to make and sell dog treats

TULSA - For almost half a century Tulsa’s Bridges Foundation has offered vocational and educational training for adults with developmental disabilities.

But its newest employment opportunity is truly going to the dogs!

As Kelley Mae portions out the finished product, Rockell starts on the next batch of dog treats at the Bridges Barkery. 

“I roll the dog biscuits. I roll it and cut it,” explained Rockell, who gets help from Bridges Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Karie Jordan.

The “Barkery” is a dog treat bakery at the Bridges Foundation’s sheltered workshop in Tulsa. The Foundation is a place where adults with developmental disabilities learn life skills and find employment skills. It's here that Rockell and Kelley Mae earn their paychecks, baking dog treats. Learning to bake helps them become more self-sufficient as they learn to read and follow recipes.

The Barkery’s products are emblazoned with the image of its mascot, Miss B. She’s an English bulldog and the kitchen’s official taste-tester.

“B’s a pretty cool dog,” Kelley Mae said as she reached down to give her another treat. Miss B’s favorite biscuit flavor is sweet potato, although she’s pretty enthusiastic about just about any batch that comes out of the oven.

Jordan says the Bridges Barkery is making a difference in the lives of developmentally disabled adults by providing them with some independence, a sense of accomplishment and a paycheck. 

“It’s employment. It’s giving back to the community. It’s being part of something bigger than ourselves and I believe it also makes an impact on our lives," said Jordan. "I mean what a great blessing and a joy it is to be here with them and get this great sense that you’re helping somebody be bigger than themselves.”

If you know someone or an organization who you think is making a difference, we want to hear about them. Email us at makingadifference@kjrh.com or fill out the form at www.kjrh.com/makingadifference.

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