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A Spiritual Experience of a Different Sort

Today, I want you to deviate from your normal life and make a special stop: On the Rise Bakery in Detroit.

Yes, it's for a good cause – the Capuchin Soup Kitchen owns and operates the place. That's well and good. Yes, it helps recovering citizens get back to a clean and spiritual life. Yeah, that's nice. And it's a place for the community to gather and – ahem – break bread together. Sure, sure. (More on See TIME's special report “The Committee To Save Detroit”)

Let's focus here, people. Listen up: It has the finest donuts this side of heaven. The pies are delish. And did I mention the bread? Holy moley. It's a slice and then some.

Full disclosure: I worked at a bakery in high school. I gained 15 pounds and then some. So I know my baked goods. This is tasty stuff. You'll feel good in body and soul. So get busy and get driving. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Detroit loves its food, and we have some of the best eateries in the world here. We all need some winter padding, and I'm gonna get mine from On the Rise.

Some background: On the Rise Bakery is run by members of the Capuchin's ROPE (Reaching Our Potential Everyday) program. It includes men who recently have been released from prison or completed a substance-abuse treatment program. The program teaching baking skills and provides and safe environment for these folks to find a new way of life. (More on Listen to Detroiters speaking out on their city's issues on TIME's Detroit podcast)

The ROPE name comes from a quote: “When we were at the end of our rope, God caught us and now we're climbing back together.”

The program's goal is to help participants learn marketable skills while also becoming men of integrity. Bakery proceeds go toward housing, training, counseling and other services for ROPE participants. Each member also is responsible for supporting and mentoring newer additions through the program and the bakery.

At its conveniently located bakery – just off of I-94 may I add – On the Rise produces and sells a variety of traditional baked goods including artisan breads, dinner rolls, pieces, cookies, cinnamon rolls and brownies. For those who don't live in Ann Arbor, artisan breads are really artsy, fancy breads. Another translation: ohm num num. Good.

The bakery lost money in its first year, but that was expected, said Brother Jerry Smith. (It opened in 2006, but just got its new home at 6110 McClellan.) This current fiscal year, On The Rise is on target to make more than $200,000, which should cover its costs and have some surplus. These figures do not include donations or grants, which help advance the bakery's cause. (More on Read a postcard of how philanthropy is remaking Detroit)

“While we hope that it will become as self-sufficient as possible, as with other Soup Kitchen programs, we are in this case investing primarily in human beings, not in a business,” Smith added.

They also visit area parishes on a weekly basis, so I got to try their treats multiple times when they came to my local church. How could you ask for more?

To find out their local schedule and join their Facebook family (yes, even a religious bakery has a Facebook fan page) click here and here.

See more from TIME's yearlong look at Detroit

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