Creating Jobs, Smoothies, and Community

Creating Jobs, Smoothies, and Community

Misericordia, a care community in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood, opened the Hearts & Flour Bakery and Café in April 2022, hoping to foster independence for its residents through jobs. The cafe employs 12 of Misericordia’s 600 residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live within the 34-acre campus and 14 surrounding homes. 

In the spacious, airy café, employees work in the open kitchen, alongside a cook and a baker. Some measure ingredients, scoop cookie dough, create heart-shaped brownies, and assemble sandwiches. Others work in the front of the café and take orders for coffee, kombucha, glazed doughnuts, and the popular spinach-and-cheese croissant. 

“The residents enjoy having their paycheck to spend when they go on outings. Having a fulfilling job builds their confidence and makes them feel like they are part of the larger community,” bakery manager Beth Woytek says.

Misericordia translates to “heart of mercy” in Latin. Its café truly is one. 

Hearts & Flour Bakery and Café, 6130 N. Ravenswood Ave., 773-564-8403,

Originally published in the Fall 2022/Winter 2023 print issue.