Birds of a Feather: Inclusion Is Sweet at the Moose & Me Bakery
Megan Elder has always had a vision for inclusion in her community. More than 15 years ago, she started a ministry for teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since then, she and her husband, Justin, have adopted two girls with Down syndrome, Mila and Audrey. Mila (nicknamed Moose) loved to bake from an early age and so began the vision of Moose & Me.
“Moose & Me got started when we adopted our daughter Mila who loved to bake from a very young age,” says Megan Elder. “Baking for us is time together. It’s a lot of laughing and getting messy and having fun. Being able to create things we’re proud of.”
The company describes themselves as a small team of creative and enthusiastic bakery artists serving a purpose grander than merely delighting your taste buds – but they certainly do that, too. Moose, Megan, and team craft delicious, intricately detailed treats to make life a little sweeter.
Megan and Justin hope to employ adults of all abilities while also creating meaningful interactions within the Naperville community.
“We thought ‘wow, wouldn’t it be great if she could bake for her whole life?’ And the dream of Moose & Me got started.”
Currently, they employ two bakers, Special Olympics Illinois athletes Jake Lucas and Michelle Anderson. Michelle doubles as a Darling Duckling. She enjoys selling ducks in her free time with her best friend, Mallory Taylor, who also happens to be the 2021 Chicago Ducky Derby ambassador.
Like Special Olympics, inclusion is integral to Megan and Justin. It’s important for them to employee adults of all abilities.
“Inclusion is really important to us. Mila learns so much from her peers and her peers learn so much from her. The more we could create those opportunities for that to happen we feel the better off all of us will be.”
Someday the Elders hope to open a physical location within Naperville. They also look forward to Mila’s sports career.
“Mila will definitely be a Special Olympics athlete!”
The Chicago Ducky Derby is an annual event in which more than 65,000 ducks race to the finish line on the Chicago River. Many athletes like Michelle help sell ducks throughout the summer for the Darling Ducklings team.
Thank you for reading our Birds of a Feather series as we approach the 2021 Chicago Ducky Derby, which will be back in person this year at the Chicago River on August 5.
To learn more about the event or to support the Moose & Me sales team by adopting a duck, please visit chicagoduckyderby.com.