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Community Loaves Volunteer Ply Neighbors with Bread and Energy Cookies
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Monday, April 15, 2024
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

We’re Breader Together.

That has long been the motto of Community loaves, a grassroots bread brigade.

A dozen Wood River Valley bakers began baking homemade Honey Oat Bread Loaves to supplement the food boxes that The Hunger Coalition distributed during the COVID pandemic. And on Friday several of those women gathered together to bake 300 energy cookies for The Hunger Coalition to distribute as snacks to schoolchildren receiving snack packs.

“I love helping out,” said Nancy Goodenough. “I’ve always done a ton of baking. I bake my own sourdough bread—I never buy bread at the store. And this bread we’re baking for The Hunger Coalition uses locally sourced flour from Hillside Grain so the bread is very nutritious and really tasty.”

The bread brigade has a dozen bakers, although some are parttime residents so they aren’t able to help year-round. Most times they bake bread and cookies at home, dropping them off at a central location in Hailey for volunteers like Nils Ribi to ferry to The Hunger Coalition in Bellevue.

Generally, they provide 15 loaves of bread and 65 energy cookies each donation, said Kathy Bell.

“The Hunger Coalition provides 5,000 snacks a week to local school children so we’d love to get some more bakers,” said Lisa Pettit, who currently heads up the bread baking/cookie making operation. “We turn the bread into rolls at Thanksgiving and at Christmas they, of course, provide special cookies.”

On Friday a handful of women got together for a special occasion, setting aside a few hours to scoop ice cream scoops of cookie dough onto baking pans. Upon removing the baked cookies from the oven, they packaged cooled cookies—by then nearly the diameter of a softball—into individual red jackets that divulged the ingredients.

These Breader Together chewy Chocolate Cherry Energy Cookies included whole wheat, chickpea, oat and rye flour, unsweetened applesauce, almond meal, rolled oats, chocolate chips, sour cherries and cinnamon. Bakers also have a blueberry version.

The cookies were developed in conjunction with The Grain School at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and are designed to provide a nutritious, healthy snack.

Community Loaves actually started in Seattle in April 2020 to address food insecurity during the pandemic. Hubs are now in Sun Valley, Boise and Sandpoint in Idaho, as well as various locales in Washington, Oregon and California.

It wasn’t just about giving away bread but, rather, about fostering connection with bakers no matter what their skill level in a time of social distancing when people couldn’t even hug or show their smiling faces, said Katherine Kehrli, who founded the initiative.

To date Community Loaves hubs have baked 150,751 sandwich loaves and nearly 113,000 energy cookies.

Bell said she and her fellow bakers would like to put together a bread baking demo in the near future.

“While what we do helps with the local need at The Hunger Coalition, we always wish we could provide more,” she said. “We’d love to have others come bake with us.”

To learn more, visit https://communityloaves.org/. Or, call Lisa Pettit at 208-720-8505 or email her at pettitclan@msn.com.

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