I’m standing in the cafe at Oakmont Bakery this week. A man grabs me on the arm and says “Ya know. We drive here from Ohio.” “For donuts?” I say. The older gentleman gives me a quizzical look. “Why not?” I can’t disagree. Oakmont Bakery is a pleasure palace for the taste buds. Located about 10 miles north east of Pittsburgh it pays homage to cookies… cakes… cream pies…anything sweet, everything fresh.
Workers glaze paczki (punch-key), a Polish fried donut enjoyed in the months before Lent.
But there’s more inside this bakery. A magnificence hidden in the cream filled donuts and French bread.
There’s a commitment to taking people on the road to perdition… and putting them on the pathway to redemption.
“Who doesn’t deserve a second chance?” says Oakmont Bakery owner Marc Serrao (that’s Marc and me in the image at the top of this story). Marc is my dear friend. Here’s why. He cares. Ya want proof? Read this email Marc sent me before my recent visit.
“Over the years there have been a few people who have made poor life choices… some who were born into a life of crime or poverty… and have come to us with criminal records… drug and alcohol abuse backgrounds etc. Of course our first inclination is to tear up the resume after the interview… but when we talk to these people and they’re honest about their struggles… sometimes we take a chance.
Joe has worked for us since 2008. He’s a baker. He’s was in jail and is an alcoholic. He’s been clean for 13 years and now sponsors people who are in a recovery program.
John has been with us since 2007 and has been a recovered alcoholic and drug addict for 12 years who helps people in a recovery program.
Mel was born into a well known gang from the Bronx (New York). He came to Pittsburgh with his wife and daughter to escape that lifestyle and give his family a better life. He talks to inner city kids about making good life choices and uses his story.”
Mark Serrao’s words. My inspiration. Mark Serrao’s vision. My hope.
These are people who are now making a difference for themselves, their families, their co-workers, their customers. Without that second chance, who knows what they’d be doing? Why can’t we all see a world of seconds chances… like a second donut? Both can be so sweet! Here at Sparkt..we believe in second chances..starting something good… making a difference every day.