Bake for Good: caring and sharing, nationwide

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Bake for Good.

Sounds nice, right? But what does it mean?

Bake for Good is the umbrella name we give to everything we do here at King Arthur Flour to make the world a better place – through baking.

Our middle-school program, Bake for Good Kids, has taught over 200,000 “tweens” to bake bread – and to share it with those in need.

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“Learn – bake – share” is the program’s mantra. In support of that cause, schools all around the country have received total donations of over 850,000 pounds of King Arthur flour – representing over 1.1 million loaves of bread.

Gretchen and Ella at a bake sale

Bake for Good is also the umbrella under which we partner with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a non-profit organization raising funds – via bake sales – for pediatric cancer research, “one cookie at a time.”

But there are other less formal, almost extemporaneous ways we use our baking skills to make life better – more fulfilling, less challenging, or simply more joyful – for those around of us.

Many of us bake to thank and support volunteers and caregivers in the community.

Think firemen. And teachers. And the DPW guys plowing our snowy roads at 2 a.m.

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The good volunteers who keep the walking trails cleared of brush at our local wildlife sanctuary regularly receive a batch of my favorite peanut butter cookies. Amazing how simple it is, really, to make people happy – especially when cookies are involved!

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Recently, though, we undertook a project that was a bit more complex. King Arthur Flour public relations coordinator Julia Reed organized a program for local veterans from the White River Junction (VT) Veteran’s Administration hospital, bringing them to the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center for a whole wheat bread-baking class…

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…followed by a dinner prepared by our King Arthur Flour catering crew.

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The class, taught by baking instructor and Baking Sheet newsletter editor Susan Reid, featured both yeast bread and rolls.

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The bread baked by the veterans was donated to a weekly free VA farmers’ market, which serves area veterans in need.

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The vets learned to mix, knead, and shape dough, then bake it into rolls…

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…and loaves.

Following are some of Julia’s thoughts and feelings about the event.

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I’m so proud to have been a part of this wonderful evening. Several veterans made a point to tell me how much this program meant to them – to be invited to spend time at our beautiful facility, to have the opportunity to learn from a fabulous instructor, and to be able to give back to their fellow veterans by donating the bread they baked to the free Wednesday market.

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One gentleman told me a story about one of his first memories, of a bakery across the street from his apartment in the neighborhood where he grew up. They sold tarts in real tins, and every week he would go out and collect the tins for the bakery, who paid him a dime each for their return.

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Another vet told me about how his grandmother used to bake all day long, and that the smell in the classroom brought up memories he hadn’t recalled in decades.

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They all agreed that it felt great to get off of the VA campus and away from their troubles, if only for a few hours.

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The warmth and gratitude was palpable in the room, and I felt so tremendously fortunate to work for a company that would sponsor an event like this.  

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The handwritten note reads, “Thanks so much for a wonderful event! Everyone is walking around with huge smiles today. This means a lot to our veteran inpatients. Best, Karen.”

Here’s to more Bake for Good successes this coming month, as we hit the road with our first Bake for Good Tour, traveling from Seattle, to Minneapolis/St. Paul, and on to Los Angeles. We’ll be meeting with local bloggers in each of those cities to teach them yeast bread and pie crust techniques. Then we’re asking them to give back by using their new-found knowledge to create a home-style, sit-down meal for those in need at a local homeless shelter. Visit our Bake for Good Tour page to learn where we’ll be in each city.

We invite you to join us for two public Bake for Good events in the L.A. area. Enjoy a free oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, courtesy of the Farmshop bakery in Brentwood. Make your pledge at either event to Bake for Good in your own community – and seal it by stepping up to our photo booth to take a Bake for Good selfie. Show us your photo, and we’ll give you a free bag of King Arthur flour.

We’ll be at Homegirl Café, 130 W. Bruno St., Los Angeles, on Tuesday, April 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

On April 16, visit The Grilled Cheese Truck at Wet Wednesdays at the Waters Edge, 3600 S. Harbor Blvd., Oxnard, from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Both events will donate 10% of the shops’ profits (Homegirl Café and The Grilled Cheese Truck) to Homeboy Industries, an organization living the mission of Bake for Good. Homeboy’s mission is to help get high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women off the streets and back on their feet by offering free job training, education, and legal and mental health services.

Can’t join us in L.A.? Participate online! Share your favorite “baking and sharing” pictures and stories on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, using the hashtags #kingarthurflour and #bakeforgood.

 

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Dunyia Stefanick

    Your article working with the Vets really touched my heart. I served in the Navy as a Navy Nurse and cherish the memories, friends and pride I felt and still feel today. The generosity of giving to our Vets is a wonderful thing to do. It makes me even prouder to support a company like KA. Thank you again for the gift you gave our Vets. May God Bless those to have served and are serving in our Military and God bless the USA!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      We thank you, and all Veterans for their service, that touches our hearts and lives. All the best, ~ MJ

  2. Gail Romano

    This is one of the reasons that I love you guys & respect you as a company…it is not all about profit but also what you can do for others! BRAVO! Your good will spreads near & far! There is nothing more relaxing to me than making bread, rolls, pasta, gnocchi, etc….gave away all 4 of my bread machines. Making things with my hands & kneading the dough just does something for my inner being! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Gail, it sounds like you’ve discovered the connection between baking and relaxation. So, back at you – keep up the good work! :) PJH

  3. Jessie

    Do you all do these bake sales across the country? If so, is there an application and guidelines to have it on one’s own community? This is so awesome! Great job!

    Reply
  4. Debra

    I really respect your company and the fact you give back. I would love to invite you to Savannah GA. in 2015. We work with several groups each week. This is an amazing project. I will check out the application. Thanks for your efforts.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Thanks for the kind words and invitation Debra, we’d love to see you in person someday. ~ MJ

  5. Gloria in Pgh

    PJ- Thank you for your very inspirational post today! You have given me lots of food for thought because in the next year or two I will be transitioning to my second career – teaching home baking! I have been baking for more than 40 years. For the past 3 or 4 years now, I have been baking and sharing every week with my friends and the staff at my local dog park. This practice has lead me to the start of a new career in teaching baking to others. Although I am starting small, I have been getting great ideas from KAF and others (the blog posting this past Friday could have been written about me!) for possible places to offer my programs in class settings. I never thought of the VA but this is a wonderful idea and one that I will definitely check into! My motto is “Promoting the art of home baking.” My first two classes, Baking 101 and Bread Basics, will be presented in the next couple of months. I am so excited by this journey and the posts that I find on KAF’s blog are so inspirational. If I can do even a small percentage of the good that KAF has done and continues to do through baking, my time and effort will be well spent. Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Patti Londre, Food Bloggers LA Founding Member

    Such a great effort, let me know if you would like to reach the Food Bloggers Los Angeles membership and we can make that happen.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Hi Patti – Thanks, I’ll pass this information along to Julia Reed, who’s leading our Bake for Good tour and will be at the events in L.A. later this month. Hopefully you two can connect. PJH

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