Hope Rises in a Bakery

By Kalis Parra, Dominican Republic Field Communications Specialist

When a popular bakery at a Hope Center in the Dominican Republic had to close because of broken equipment, the pastor there dreamed of reopening it to help kids learn a valuable skill. Then a U.S. partner church stepped in to revive the bakery and the pastor’s dream.

Pastor Juan Alberto Severino, shown here with his wife, has partnered with OneChild since 2009 to run the Joyas de Cristo Hope Center.

The bakery is back, and the community of Quebrada Honda, Moca, in the Dominican Republic couldn’t be happier.

Nine years ago, when Pastor Juan Alberto Severino received a donation of some old baking equipment, he set up a bakery in the Joyas de Cristo Hope Center kitchen and started teaching kids how to bake bread.

The Joyas de Cristo Bakery served two purposes: to make fresh bread that was affordable to the community, and to teach youths baking skills which they could use to earn income.

“The bakery was born as a need we identified in our community,” says Pastor Juan.

“At the same time, we understood [it] to be necessary for the teenagers in the vocational area.

“In the bakery they could learn and leave the Hope Center tomorrow with knowledge in another area. As a baker, I know this could be a wonderful professional opportunity for the sponsored children.”

The bread dough is placed on a rack to rise.

But the aging kitchen equipment kept breaking down, eventually forcing the Hope Center to close the bakery.

Then in 2022, OneChild partner Realife Church in Greenfield, Indiana, stepped in with a generous donation that allowed the Hope Center to reopen the bakery with better, more modern equipment.

Realife Church members regularly support this Hope Center in the Dominican Republic to give kids hope for a future free of poverty.

“Realife Church has allowed us to reopen our bakery,” says Pastor Juan.

“Thanks to their support now we are able to provide the needs of many parents by selling them bread at an affordable price. … The support of Realife Church through the years has been a blessing to us and our community.”

The Joyas de Cristo Bakery is just one of the many dreams Pastor Juan has for his community and the kids living in poverty there.

The baked bread is removed from the oven.

Since its beginning in 2006, and through its partnership with OneChild in 2009, this Hope Center has made a big difference and positively impacted the community.

The Hope Center itself began in a small rented wooden house where kids would gather weekly for activities.

Today, the Hope Center is a fully equipped building with classrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, and space to play safely.

From Monday to Friday, the Hope Center serves as preschool, teaching the youngest kids and allowing the parents go to work knowing their children are well cared for there.

On Saturdays children from the community gather for activities.

The Hope Center also has a purified water system that provides clean water not only to the kids there, but to the community as well.

The baked bread is ready to be eaten.

While the bakery continues to be a blessing for the community, the Hope Center, and sponsored children, it is also a source of work and income for three employees who work there to provide for their families.

The Joyas de Cristo Hope Center is a living example that it is possible to bring hope to vulnerable communities in many ways, and that it is possible to see the dreams that we have for each child come true.

All this is possible thanks to sponsorship through OneChild, and proves that sponsorship has the power to transform a life, a community, and an entire country one child at a time.

Help us go further into the hard places, open more Hope Centers, and do whatever it takes to reach more kids living in poverty by donating to the OneChild Partners Fund.



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