The gourmet salsas and spice rubs, fair trade coffees, and -- of course -- bean soup mixes produced by the Denver-based Women's Bean Project
provide more than a delicious treat for award recipients. For the women who make them, these gourmet foods provide a ladder out of poverty and homelessness.
Founded in 1989, the not-for-profit organization teaches job readiness and life skills for entry-level jobs through employment in gourmet food production and handmade jewelry manufacturing businesses. Women come with the goal of transforming their lives and moving toward self-sufficiency, earning a steady wage as they work in a safe and accepting environment, and develop the skills and abilities needed to get and keep a job. The program varies in length, lasting about 6 months, depending on each individual participant's progress in reaching job readiness.
Aside from being made in Denver, all the Women's Bean Project‚ salsa mixes use locally sources spices from a farm in Durango, CO. Price points range from $4 to $10 for the gourmet food mixes to $10 to $50 for gift baskets, and $25 - $55 for handmade jewelry. Goods from the Women's Bean Project are available through Helping Hands Rewards
, a non-profit created to bring social purpose businesses' merchandise into the incentive channel.