Pie-warming bakery owner raises money for guide dogs

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A local bakery owner is throwing some holiday cheer this weekend to help people with disabilities become independent.

Carina Comer of Carina’s Bakery in Beaverton is on a mission to hire employees of all skill levels in her Scandinavian-inspired vegan establishment.

“Being visually impaired and having health issues, I always thought that people might think that a person with a visual impairment couldn’t be successful in a physical industry like baking,” Comer recalls. “So I really wanted to create a welcoming place for the employees as well as for the community, whatever their abilities. “

Carina’s Bakery is Benefit Corporations for Good certified, which illustrates the owner’s goal of building her business on giving back.

According to the American Foundation for the Blind, about 44% of people living with visual impairments are unemployed, but Comer is determined to lead by example to help fight these statistics.

“We hire people with physical and mental challenges,” Comer said. “So we like to work with organizations that help advance this cause. “

Sign up at Carina’s Bakery in Beaverton, OR (KOIN)

Despite her many accomplishments, Comer told KOIN 6 News that she couldn’t have done it without the help of her four-legged pastry buddy Sutter.

“I have low vision myself, so I have a guide dog that stays with me in the bakery,” Comer explained. “He’s my best friend. He’s very protective and lovable, and he helps me get to where I’m going in a more direct way, while also giving the audience a friendly face. He’s from Guide Dogs for the Blind, us. so let’s work in close collaboration with them. “

This Sunday, Comer will host a cooking demonstration on making holiday cookies to help raise funds for guide dogs for the blind during their virtual holiday celebration.

Comer told KOIN 6 News that she was excited to partner with Guide Dogs for the Blind again for the upcoming fundraiser, after seeing first-hand how useful their services can be for people living with vision problems.

“They really help their clients and they do such a great job of matching them with the right dog for their lifestyle and the needs of their household,” Comer said. “The dogs are free to us and they provide vet care so it’s all fundraising and it takes a community to make that happen.”

Guide Dogs for the Blind CEO Christine Benninger said that as the largest guide dog company in the United States, her mission is simple: “It’s about creating independence and inclusion. blind or visually impaired people. And we do this through the creation of a well-trained guide dog.

Benninger told KOIN 6 News that guide dogs can often help connect people with visual impairments to their communities.

NEW YORK – MARCH 27: Student guide dog Max, a Golden Retreiver puppy, walks through the arrivals area during their training program on March 27, 2004 at New Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. (Photo by Stephen Chernin / Getty Images)

“People don’t realize that being blind is isolating enough because we connect through sight,” she said. “One of the things that sets a guide dog apart from a cane is that guide dogs are a social bridge.”

Benninger explained that clients paired with a guide dog can travel the world like a sighted person would, avoiding obstacles without having to make contact first. She said they also help connect visually impaired people to their community and surroundings.

“When you travel with a guide dog, everyone wants to talk to you because you have this amazing being that you team up with,” Benninger said. “It really sparks the conversation, which is a big part of the inclusion.”

The virtual one-hour Guide Dog for the Blind celebration will take place on Sunday, December 5 at 5 p.m. Registration is free and available online. All proceeds from the event will allow the company to continue providing completely free services to its customers, including lifelong veterinary care for their guides.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn more about our mission and the profound difference it makes,” said Benninger. “You will meet some truly wonderful dogs and puppies, and if they are inspired you will also have the opportunity to support our mission and contribute online.”

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