Pictured left to right: Sue Hanks, Catholic Charities; Joey Hoeschen; Felicia Bryant; Destiny Morris; Culinary Teacher Mary Levinski;
Ady Froiland; Keanna Guggisberg and Nicole Kisser, Catholic Charities
Culinary students at Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools are always learning new cooking techniques, but this December they are learning a little more than how to mix, stir, chop and bake. They are learning how they can use their new skills to give back to their community by offering those who may not have regular access to food something special—a freshly baked loaf of bread.
Mary Levinski and Cara Francisco, both Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) teachers within the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District, collaborated to teach students how to bake bread for donation to the Catholic Charities Emergency Services Food Shelf through the King Arthur Flour Company’s Bake for Good program. Students and teachers traveled to Catholic Charities to make the donation on Friday, December 13. Food shelf staff Sue Hanks and Nicole Kisser accepted the donation and expressed the organization’s thanks for all of the students’ work.
The Bake for Good program works with schools to help young people discover the love of baking from scratch. King Arthur Flour provides students with recipe booklets and nearly all of the needed ingredients to make the bread. The program encourages participants to make enough dough to divide: Half is used to make something of the baker’s choosing and the remainder is used to make a loaf for donation. Students in Levinski’s and Francisco’s classes chose to make cinnamon rolls for themselves and braided bread for the Catholic Charities Food Shelf.
Levinski has participated in the Bake for Good program for two years. She is especially attracted to the community contribution expectation embedded into the program. “It is good for kids to learn bread baking as a skill and, at the same time, teach them how to give back. This is an easy way to help others.”
Last year, Levinski’s high school group donated 48 loaves. This year, the district’s high school students teamed up with middle school students to double their efforts. The high schoolers have been mentoring their partners in the bread baking process—a skill they learned the week before. The group made nearly 100 loaves to donate this time around.
Francisco sees value in having students at different grade levels help one another. “Bake for Good is a great opportunity for the middle school students to work with the high school students and for the high school students teach the younger ones something they are already skilled at. I also love that students give back and have fun at the same time.”
Avagail, a student of Ms. Francisco says, “The person who helped my group was really nice. I think having the high schoolers in our class was good for everybody and it made the project really fun.”
Levinski and Francisco estimate the classes used about 182 pounds of flour to make the bread. The recipe is simple and contains no eggs or milk to give the loaves a longer shelf life.
At a time when fewer people know how to make homemade bread, Bake for Good helps students experience this process. Middle school student, Lilly, says “I want to make some for Christmas.” Beaux, a fellow student adds, “It is the season of giving and I see this as helping people who don’t have enough to eat not worry so much.”
Bake for Good really is good for many reasons.