At The Good Cookie, a new Santa Barbara bakery with its products now on the shelves at Whole Foods Market, the employees are clients of the Casa Esperanza Homeless Center. They work nights in the center’s kitchen, where they learn job skills and earn money to get themselves off the streets. The revenues support Casa Esperanza’s shelter and services.
The Good Cookie changes lives. But it also changes minds. It turns skeptics into supporters of Casa Esperanza’s mission, said Mike Foley, the nonprofit’s executive director.
Now Santa Barbara’s business and civic leaders are trying to build on that spirit of cooperation to launch another new program, an ambitious effort to both reduce panhandling and better fund services for the city’s homeless.