Thursday, May 3, 2012

Baking for a Cause

I just completed a project that I'm really proud of.  For several years I've been inspired by the commercials on the food network about Share Our Strength's work to end childhood hunger.  Share Our Strength started a campaign encouraging people to hold bake sales to raise money  for their organization.  I've long wanted to host one myself.  Why?  Because it's a great cause, and I've always loved bake sales.  Bake sales remind me of the many summertime lemonade stands I held as a kid.  And nostalgia is a very powerful thing!


Share Our Strength has a great website with tons of resources to make hosting a bake sale easier.  So I signed up on their website and got started.  As it turned out, my daughter's kindergarten class needed to come up with what they call a "leadership project" for this quarter.  (Basically, they are supposed to learn about something as a class and present it to the rest of the school.)  My bake sale idea became this year's leadership project.

I worked with the kindergarten teachers to get the project up and running.  We wanted to keep the bakesale simple and pretty small scale, so we decided to sell treats to the school on a Friday afternoon when the school would normally sell ice cream.  The ice cream costs $1, so we decided we'd sell our treats for $1.  We limited the bake sale to brownies and rice krispie treats to keep it simple, and then I solicited volunteers via email to bake some treats for us.  I also used some of the tools on the Share Our Strength website to make a flier about the event.  

Next the kindergarten students made a poster advertising their bake sale, and they put together a presentation explaining what they were doing.  They went from classroom to classroom giving the presentation in small groups.  Then they handed out the fliers I had made to all the students in the school.  They were clearly very proud to be helping out other children.

Did you know that nearly 1 in 5 children suffer from hunger in the United States?  I thought that was a shocking statistic.  We put that fact on our fliers, and it definitely got people's attention.  The bake sale happened last Friday, and we raised just over $250!!!  I was amazed at how successful our little project was.  The students were so excited for their Friday afternoon treat.  And I was so impressed with how generous they were, too.  Many of them put $2 in the basket and then only took one treat.  In the end this bakesale was at least as fun as my childhood lemonade stands. 

By the way, my daughter pretty much made the rice krispie treats herself.  I always forget how easy (and yummy!) rice krispie treats are.  All you really have to do is melt the butter and marshmallows and then stir, stir, stir.  Plus, it's always fun cooking with kids. 

All in all, this project was a great experience that left me feeling so inspired.  My hope is that I will continue to find ways to be involved with Share Our Strength.  It really pains me to think about kids feeling hungry right here in this wealthy nation we live in.  So . . . if you're looking for a summer project to do with your kids, or you've been wanting to find a way to give back to your community, I definitely recommend hosting a Share Our Strength bakesale.

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