The following story was shared by Parkview Elementary School assistant principal Michelle Hess. Hess was also interviewed by KGMI in November.
Thank you to our community partner Whatcom Farm to School for creating this wonderful opportunity for our students.
Bake for Good
by Michelle Hess
As part of Bellingham Public Schools Good Food Promise, our district’s new Central kitchen is focused on bringing “real food, made with love” to students. This means that more and more, our school’s lunches are made from scratch and with local ingredients. When Parkview Elementary School’s fourth and fifth grade students were invited to participate in the King Arthur Flour Bake For Good Challenge, it seemed like the perfect fit. Just as our students have been benefiting from “real food, made with love,” the Bake For Good Challenge was an opportunity for students to make homemade bread and donate it to a local organization serving those in need. Community partner Whatcom Farm to Schools connected us with The Ground Floor, a program with Northwest Youth Services that provides winter shelter for homeless youth. The center is housed at the First Congregational Church in the Parkview neighborhood.
King Arthur Flour Company visited our school and engaged Parkview students in a live demonstration on the art and science of making bread, where students were shown how to a variety of bread types from cinnamon rolls to braided loaves. Following the presentation, each student was provided with a bread baking kit complete with recipes, flour, yeast and a baggie for bringing their donation loaf back to school on Monday. Over the weekend, families posted pictures of their bread baking efforts on the Parkview PTO Facebook Group. They were excited to try their own hand at baking bread over the weekend. “This guy is so proud of his good works today! What a neat idea!” one parent wrote as a caption to a picture of her son kneading bread dough.
Come Monday morning, beautifully braided and bronzed baked loaves of bread came pouring in as students dropped off their bread donations with pride. When asked what they liked about the project, one student shared, “I liked that I got to bake for the time and see my creation on my own.” Another student added, “You really had to set aside the time to do it. It was nice to know that our bread was going to other people who would appreciate the effort we put into it.”
More than fifty loaves of fresh baked bread were delivered to Emerson, director at the Ground Floor and he was very grateful. “Perfect timing,” he said. “We just started serving lunch and dinner. I usually make the bread from sourdough starter myself. This will be so helpful.”
Two key tenets of the Good Food Promise state “All children deserve to be fed well and that every meal is a learning opportunity.” The Bake For Good Challenge helped us to ensure that other youth in our community are taken care of.
Our students learned more than just how to bake bread. They also learned that real food, made with love not only helps feed those that are hungry. It fills hearts, too.