When it comes to recipes, each ingredient matters. So does every person, despite how they came to live at a homeless shelter.

Mari Burt, like all the women who volunteer at Feed Me Hope Bakery, has nowhere else to go.

“I’m on the waiting list for affordable housing with Alaska Housing Authority and it’s a long process,” Burt said. “Two and a half years average I heard.”

Feed Me Hope Bakery is part of the Downtown Soup Kitchen and women’s shelter. Longtime Anchorage baker Tom Christensen teaches anyone who wants to learn.

“The whole thing is about teaching skills to these ladies so they can get jobs and move on,” Christensen said.

Feed Me Hope Bakery is a fairly new program. It only started in March and already fills about 10 orders a week, according to Christensen. Among its biggest clients are several local churches, the train depot and Side Street Espresso.

“It’s what we all hope for, kind of a back-to-work program, and I can imagine how inspiring it is for them to have this to do,” said Side Street Espresso owner Debra Seaton.

All the food sold by the bakery goes to support, and someday expand, the Downtown Soup Kitchen and women’s shelter.

“I’ve genuinely found a place where I can really be happy,” said volunteer baker Candice Trumbly.

For the women, this job is a step towards providing for themselves. Burt said it’s an important ingredient in her recipe for success.

“I’m thinking when I’m ready, try to get a job at a bakery,” Burt said.

Christensen said already several of the women he’s taught at Feed Me Hope Bakery have gone on to find jobs in the food service industry.

KTVA 11’s Shannon Ballard can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.