A Black-owned family bakery is giving back to the Western New York community by using its treats to help city youth.
According to WKBW-7 TV, Radah Baked Goods owners Lavenia and Lee Thomas offer decorating classes and science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs to public and charter school students through their partnership with the program Say Yes Buffalo.
“We do cupcake decorating classes. STEM programs for education programs like ‘SAY YES Buffalo,’ BestSelf throughout Western New York,” Lee said in an interview.
The initiative was created in 2011 by community leaders who wanted to strengthen the Western New York community by investing in children’s education. Say Yes Buffalo is dedicated to putting racial equality and inclusion at its forefront, along with tuition assistance and career opportunities to increase high school and secondary education completion, according to its website.
“So we do cupcake classes with the schools in the local area. They’re fun. They give us a theme, and we just bring a cupcake that coincides with it,” Lavenia explained. “We also have given away things for free such as the cupcakes and things of that nature.”
The couple has owned Radah Baked Goods for nearly four years but has only been at their 247 Amherst Street location in Buffalo, New York, for about a year.
In addition to their community efforts, Lavenia and Lee have also collaborated with Erie County Legislature Chair April Baskins’ program, “Level Up.” The program, supported by the Buffalo Bills, helps business owners from disadvantaged backgrounds to obtain a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise certification to help negotiate with larger governmental contracts.
“Such as capability statements negotiating contracts with larger corporations. And now we’re at ECC every Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. serving southtowns,” Lee said. “So it’s a program to showcase our talents and hopefully one day get into the new Bills stadium.”
While the couple remains active in their community, they keep their sweets at a reasonable price for everyone. Their shop offers brownies and cupcakes for $3.50, cookies for $2.50 and three-layer cakes for $50.
“We didn’t want to be too extensive with our pricing. The point of it is to give back to the community,” Lavenia said. “We’re not trying to take from it.”
Radah Baked Goods is open after hours for those looking for a late-night treat. According to the couple, the shop’s name best fits their mission and how they serve the community.
“It’s a Hebrew name that stands for dominion and power and that’s something that started with our legacy,” Lee said. “And we want to give that to our community and our children.”