South Fork Bakery: Cookies with a Cause

Meet the South Fork Bakery Community:


Robert has wanted to be a baker since he was four years old.  Robert is autistic and baking has always been one of his great passions. Although he graduated from high school after completing a supportive culinary program, opportunities to be employed as a baker were nonexistent.  


People with Autism, Asperger’s, Down’s Syndrome and other developmental disabilities struggle to find paid employment even though they have a deep desire to work. I started South Fork Bakery in 2016 to give people like Robert this opportunity.  Robert is now not only one of our bakers but also our expert decorator, meticulously applying the icing on all of the holiday cookies. Jessica, our professional baker, works alongside our crackerjack “batter mixing crew” of Jon, Geoffrey and Scott. Julian, our muscle man, empties 50 pound bags of flour and other ingredients into bins for storage. Mary brightens up the packing room with her friendly smile. Niko and Frankie are always early to work and greet everyone with a warm welcome when they arrive.
Sarah is our leading saleswoman, signing up over ten stores in Southampton single-handedly! She also manages the orders for these stores and makes the deliveries to them each week.  South Fork Bakery offers meaningful paid employment. More importantly it provides a feeling of self worth, accomplishment, joy and a sense of community. Geoffrey who has worked at the bakery for two years says,  "The bakery has given me a sense of purpose that I didn't get from other jobs.” Collier, who has worked at the bakery for all three years describes his experience there like this, “It's fun making cookies and it's a great place to make friends.”

South Fork Bakery and Shirley Ruch:

My name is Shirley Ruch.  I am a speech therapist and work with children from preschool through adult with developmental disabilities.  Improving the quality of life of these individuals has been my passion for over 30 years. I have known and worked with some children and their families for decades. So when they were turning 21 and aging out of the school system with no employment, I heard their parents’ concerns and fears about their child’s isolation and loneliness when school ended. I knew I had to do something to help and so South Fork Bakery was born.  

In the beginning the bakery provided meaningful employment for six people I had worked with for years and who had recently aged out of the school system. Amazingly we have rapidly grown and are now able to employ 16 people. Employees mix batter,  bake, package, sell and deliver our delicious cookies and brownies. Due to our employees’ hard work and diligence we are in over 50 stores, farmers markets and fairs. I am grateful to have the daily assistance from family members and other wonderful volunteers who work with our employees and are helping South Fork Bakery grow.  All together we have created a place for meaningful paid employment, a sense of  community and a friendship bond that makes everyone look forward to each and every day at work.

Bakery Goodies:

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We make three types of cookies and two bars:  Gingersnap, Wheat Free Oatmeal Raisin, Wheat Free Chocolate Chip, Blondie Bars and Wheat Free Chocolate Chunky Brownies.  All are made with natural ingredients with no preservatives just like grandma’s cookies! We also make seasonal items including our Coconut Macaroons which are dipped in chocolate and crushed almonds,  pumpkin blondies for the
fall and peppermint brownies for the holidays.

Please Donate and Help South Fork Bakery:

In order for South Fork Bakery to continue to thrive and grow we need support. South Fork Bakery is a not for profit 501(c)3 organization. In our three years of existence we have grown from 6 to 16 employees and have a waiting list of people wanting to work with us. With your support we can take South Fork Bakery to the next level by increasing sales and employing more people.

Your support will help us:

Employ people from our waiting list

Increase the amount of work hours for current employees

Purchase :  
                      Cookie Depositor  Machine
                      30 quart Hobart mixer
                      14 foot freezer
                       Two 6 foot Rolling Carts for Baking Ingredients

Cover Fees to enter additional markets and festivals

Contract with a  Marketing Professional to devise strategies for increasing sales

Rent a larger kitchen space

Provide year round employment
Please help us to provide meaningful paid work to a group of very deserving individuals. Every donation no matter the size will make a difference in the lives of my amazing employees! South Fork Bakery can grow and bring tremendous opportunities to many more people with your donations.  
As a 501(c)3 every dollar you donate is tax deductible. If you would rather donate by check please mail to:
South Fork Bakery, 3333 Noyac Road, Sag Harbor, NY 11963.


Donations (0)

  • Ali Pratt 
    • $100 
    • 13 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $5 
    • 17 d
  • Farmers' Market Donations 
    • $550 (Offline)
    • 18 d
  • jack ross 
    • $25 
    • 27 d
  • Meikle Blossom  
    • $75 
    • 1 mo


Shirley Ruch 
Sag Harbor, NY
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