Sunday, April 18, 2021
Bread Brigade Touted to Feed the Hungry
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Monday, March 22, 2021
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

We’re Breader Together.

That’s the motto of Community Loaves, which part-time resident Jean Johnson is touting to supply home baked bread for Hunger Coalition clients.

Johnson said the program would connect local bakers to address the growing problem of food insecurity. She made her first donation, testing the formula with local flours.

Community Loaves is a grassroots bread brigade, in which volunteers bake homemade Honey Oat Sandwich Loaves for food pantries. The first hub started in Seattle in April 2020 with a donation of 19 loaves created by a handful of pioneer bakers.

In the months since, 488 bakers have produced 8,344 loaves. Community Loaves is now in a variety of places along the coast in Washington State and in Portland and Eugene, Ore.

“It isn’t just about giving away bread—heck, you can do that by purchasing a loaf or two,” said Katherine Kehrli, Community Loaves founder. “In a time of social distancing, when we can’t hug, or even show our smiling faces, this project fosters heart-warming connection with bakers of all levels, from novice to professional.

“We delight in supporting each other as we further our dough handling skills making better and better bread in our home or professional kitchens and then delivering that bread to local hubs and food pantries. Our bread recipe is intentional, calling for freshly milled whole grain and high extraction flours that provide valuable nutrition to our bread while, at the same time, lending support to the local grain economy.”

Kristin McMahon, communications and development supervisor for The Hunger Coalition, said a that all that’s needed to get the program started here is for a couple people to take interest and lead the charge in coordinating “all the lovely bakers.”

Community Loaves offers an online training session.

“It would bring a lot of joy to local families,” McMahon said.

The Hunger Coalition is continuing to feed 350 families—or 1,000 people. That’s more than twice as many families as it was feeding before the pandemic. At its peak, The Hunger Coalition was serving triple its former number.

The 14-person staff has been setting up shop in their new 13,000-square-foot building in Bellevue, which was purchased for slightly more than  $2 million. They spent another $3 million on the building renovation, the purchase of four acres of land, grounds renovations, two commercial greenhouse and expansion of the Bloom Community Farm from two to five acres. The new building more than triples the 5,000-square-foot building The Hunger Coalition had been working out of.

McMahon said The Hunger Coalition hopes to host a community toast for the new facility and its greenhouses in June.

 

 

 

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