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Southeast Portland bake shop on a mission to help feed kids and families

Sugar Street Bakery & Bistro started offering free lunches for kids in March when schools closed and decided to expand the offer to families.

PORTLAND, Ore — Justine Flaherty and Kenric Craver bought Sugar Street Bakery in fall 2019 with a mission to serve their community.

“Now it’s Black-owned, female owned and we’re really proud of what we are creating through the people that are on our team,” said Flaherty.

The couple revamped the menu and formed a team in line with the mission. Sugar Street Bakery & Bistro offers cakes, cupcakes and other sweets as well as breakfast and lunch items.

The couple  was still basking in the in joy of owning their own business when Craver —who is also a doctor at Providence — got a glimpse of what was to come with COVID-19

“I was seeing cases like this already in February, we would test people for pneumonia it would be negative, we will test for flu a and b it would be negative when it finally hit. Justine and I sat down and I said this is like real,” Craver said.

The couple, worried about paying bills and keeping the bakery open - shifted their focus

“Let’s give back to the community as much as we can and we’ll work hard to keep our bakery open but let’s get back to the community,” said Craver.

Sugar Street Bakery & Bistro started offering free lunches for kids in March when schools closed. They saw a high turnout and decided to expand the offer to families.

Sugar Street has so far given out about 2,500 free meals since March. As far as who’s eligible, the couple said if you want a lunch, you will get one— no proof of need required

“We don’t feel like we’ve been taken advantage of," said Craver. "But we really feel that God has been good to us and we want to get back."

Staying true to their mission, the couple will continue providing free meals. As long as they see a need, they’ll be there with some sweet support.

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