St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown, NY is in the second year of an innovative partnership with the Mental Health Association (MHA) of Chautauqua County to produce all natural dog treats.
Called Father Bernard’s Biscuits, the enterprise began by selling treats at a local farmer’s market and has expanded to selling the treats (ad merch) online. Twice each week, MHA clients meet at St Luke’s to prepare the treats. Made with gluten-free flour, oats, peanut butter, and water, the program offers an opportunity to learn employment related skills.
Father Bernard’s was the brain-child of the Rev. Luke Fodor, Rector of St Luke’s who said he was looking for a way to connect conscientious consumers with others who had faced barriers to participating in work, in order that it might foster a more inclusive and connected community.
They’ve even baked their hopes in to the treats themselves, saying that the circular biscuits represent the ecosystem of connection and wellness that forms when those out of the workforce – isolated by mental health and recovery struggles – are reconnected and resourced by community.
This year, just in time for St Francis Day, Father Bernard’s Blessed Biscuits is offering a special free promotion for churches celebrating Animal Blessing services. They’ll send you a free trial bag of biscuits to share at your parish event and ask only that you pay shipping.