About a month ago I was fortunate enough to attend an event with King Arthur Flour.
This was unlike any other blogger retreat I have ever attended. The focus of the event was not to lavish the bloggers invited with gifts and amenities and over the top dinners with never ending bar tabs.
The focus was humanity.
photo courtesy of Little Rusted Ladle
Eleven bloggers got together to Bake for Good. This theme sounds so simple in it’s premise, (and if you are anything like me, you heard it and were more intrigued by the word “bake” than the “for good”!) but King Arthur had something big in mind. I can’t help but feel like they are doing something so right.
When I first met Julia and Natasha I was instantly charmed by their smiles and sparkles. Not fashionable sparkles on scarves or ipad cases, not that there is anything wrong with that, but the sparkles that illuminated them from within. These two ladies had invested their heart and soul into their noble mission, and it was evident with every conversation and activity. They had a big picture in mind. Something bigger than each of us.
Yet something that we could attain if we worked together.
photo courtesy of A Farmgirl’s Dabbles
Over the course of two days we met as a group and baked together. We were taught classic techniques and methods by the brilliant Susan Reid, who is a legend in the industry. The culinary knowledge this woman shared was worth its weight in gold, and she gushed it to us over and over again, each time blowing my mind a little more.
But we weren’t baking to simply learn technique. We were baking for a purpose. Baking for Good.
With the assistance of the fabulous women and men from the Art Institute International Minnesota, we baked loaves of bread and pies and brownies. Enough to feed a large group of people. Enough to feed families in need.
photo courtesy of A Farmgirl’s Dabbles
Find tips and tricks on how to make the PERFECT pie crust here!
When we arrived at the shelter something shifted in me. I went from a giddy and motivated blogger/baker (I had baked that pie above, and it turned out delicious!) to a cautious observer. I was no longer “having fun mode” and gaining baking tips and making new friends, I was now in a position to serve others.
As the families started to cautiously make their way through the cafeteria line, I stood face to face with a mom of five. She had a baby on one hip, was holding the hand of a toddler, and trying to rein in the other three young children. I recognized the look on her face, as I have seen it before. She looked defeated and she looked tired. It’s almost as if the fight was gone from her eyes.
Mom’s in her position don’t have the luxury of setting the kids in front of video games while she takes a hot relaxing and well deserved bath at the end of a long, hard day. They don’t get breakfast in bed on their birthdays and Mothers Day.
They are lucky if they find a clean, warm bed in a safe place.
I made eye contact with her and forced myself to hold it, refusing to look away. My eyes searched hers and I reached for her baby. Hesitantly I asked her if it was ok. She paused, unsure and not wanting to impose, but almost relieved. I was desperate to help, even if it was only that this mom could eat a meal without a little one grabbing for food and making a mess as she tried to eat.
She handed her baby to me and I immediately snuggled her close. This baby was the same age as mine. She had the same beautiful eyes and same innocent smile. She grabbed at my hair and loved to hear lullaby’s sung in a soothing voice. The sweet baby didn’t know the heartache and stress that her mom endured day in and out. She just knew that she was loved. And as I watched that mom eat a piece of pie and seemingly relax, even if it was just for a moment, all the work was worth it.
My heart changed in that moment.
As I stood in the shelter and rocked a small precious baby covered in dirt and clothes that were 4 sizes to big, I knew that God had put me there for a reason. This perfectly ideal paring, this idea to #bakeforgood, this is something I could do.
And this is something that you can do to.
King Arthur flour and I have a challenge for you. We want you to Bake for Good. I want you to utilize the talents and heart that God has given you, and I want you to make a difference.
So many of you already participate in Desserts for the Deserving (which I love you for!) and this is going to be similar. What we are offering is 10 five-pound bags of King Arthur Flour. The first 10 people to claim a bag will be sent a bag for free. You will be asked to use it in baking for others.
I am asking 10 people to make a pledge and then share it through social media. Wether that be facebook or twitter or Instagram, I simply want you to bake something and share it. For example, you could bake a cake and donate it to a nursing home or you could bake some bread and bring it to a local shelter or you could bake a pie and share it with a neighbor. Then you will share your act of kindness on social media with the hashtag #bakeforgood.
We need ten of you to agree to receive a free bag of flour from King Arthur Flour and to then bake something for others.
Ten people to leave a comment with “I pledge to #bakeforgood” will be chosen.
There is no grand prize. There is no award. There is simply the knowledge that you are doing something good in this world. Something tangible. Something worthwhile.
And speaking from experience, there is no greater gift.
How else can you help?
Go and bake for good in your community. In your neighborhood. In your home.
Pin any image from this post and make sure to have the #bakeforgood hashtag in the description. Tweet and use the hashtag #bakeforgood and #kingarthurflour. Instagram and add #bakeforgood to your images of treats. Help get the word out about #bakeforgood!
I look forward to seeing how we will work together to #BAKEFORGOOD!
My kids and I baked the banana bread above and we will be donating it to a local shelter, my first step in starting a new tradition in our home. It is my hope that my children and I will make it a habit to bake together and give back to others in our community.
These are the other fabulous ladies who participated in the Minneapolis #bakeforgood