Saskatoon

Clean up your Facebook profile and get a sweet treat, Saskatoon baker tells youths

Every third Thursday, young person from the neighbourhood with a violence free Facebook page gets a free doughnut at Nestor's Bakery.

Keith Jorgenson fears drugs and violence may be normalized to local youths

Baker Keith Jorgenson is a well known community activist who has long fought to help improve life in Saskatoon's inner city. Jorgenson is giving out free doughnuts to people living a good life in some of the city's toughest neighbourhoods. (CBC)

A Saskatoon baker and community activist is putting his skills to work by handing out free doughnuts as a peace offering in a part of the city that's struggling with drugs, gangs and violence.

Keith Jorgenson is the co-owner of Nestor's Bakery, a business that serves customers in the inner-city neighbourhoods around 20th Street West.

It is difficult for us to watch the increasing violence and social problems.- Keith Jorgenson

The truth is that Jorgenson's doughnuts, handed out at the bakery every third Thursday are not free. Jorgensen is asking people to make a change.

"Clean up your Facebook, and then come," he pleaded. 

Jorgenson does not want to see social media references to drugs, gangs or weapons. Any young person from the neighbourhood with a violence free Facebook page gets a free doughnut.

"My family cares a great deal about the communities of Riversdale and Pleasant Hill," he said.  

"It is difficult for us to watch the increasing violence and social problems in our community. We wanted to do something, to say that we believe in this community's goodness."

Jorgenson is not naïve. He is not under the impression that doughnuts will stop the violence and crime that has long plagued the west side.

His commitment to change runs deep. Jorgenson ran a school for former gang members and is an outspoken critic, calling for more support to help for people struggling with addictions.  

Nestor's Bakery expect to hand out more than 300 doughnuts today to people who have violence free Facebook pages. (CBC)

Baker soured on social media 

Yet, in social media, Jorgensen sees a big problem. For example, he said, drug dealers are peddling their wares out in the open on Facebook, using mildly coded language.

Jorgenson said that other young people are seeing posts glamourizing drugs and gang life and may come to believe it is normal. 

It's why he's demanding a violence free Facebook page in exchange for a sweet treat.

Jorgenson argues that what is truly normal is being a good citizen and living a positive lifestyle.    

"It's a pretty tiny gesture," he said. "But I would say [it] is sort of celebrating the people who are doing positive things in their community which I think represents … the silent majority."

If it is a public display of good that Jorgenson is seeking, doughnuts are a powerful draw. The bakery expects to give out more than 300 doughnuts on Thursday.

with files from Saskatoon Morning

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