Rolling Out Relief
Although the sourdough starter kit trend has passed, more people than ever are baking. While many bake bread loaves for themselves or their family, 500 home bakers are going above and beyond to support their local community. Community Loaves is a Seattle-based charity composed of a coalition of hundreds of bakers with one goal: to provide fresh bread to their local food bank.
Katherine Kehrli is at the helm of this initiative. Under her guidance, Community Loaves has donated 1,300 loaves of bread to Hopelink, a Seattle food bank experiencing unprecedented demand due to the pandemic.
Kehrli’s specialty is a simple honey oat loaf bread. Other bakers have developed their own bread recipes, adding diversity to their food bank contribution. During Thanksgiving, they made and donated dinner rolls. For Christmas, Hopelink was flooded with holiday cookies. Fresh baked bread is a rare donation, as many people donate only non-perishable foods. These fresh baked loaves are a treat and the patrons of the food bank appreciate it. The director of Hopelink stated, “You can see smiles through masks. You still can. You can see eyes go up. 600, 700 loaves of bread now, that’s 600, 700 smiles.”
In addition to helping their community, multiple Community Loaves’ bakers have shared that making bread has been a way to connect with their family. Family members, unable to visit each other, are zooming and baking together. Other people have dusted off old family recipes and been transported back to the kitchen with their grandmas.
This project has illustrated a community coming together to do good. As the pandemic separates loved ones, there are still ways to maintain connections. Further, there are still ways to give back and help others. Baking with love really means something, especially now more than ever.