What started as a simple idea bloomed into a great service that provides thousands of loaves for destitute families in the area.
Happiness multiplies when it is shared, which is probably why helping someone gives us a sense of fulfillment. Many goodwill organizations around the world are trying to resolve hunger in many families with the help of dedicated volunteers. However, finding volunteers and retaining them for a longer period is quite challenging. However, one Canadian charity organization is turning heads with its brilliant concept of "Bread Monday." Greener Village provides food, clothing and opportunities to the needy in Fredericton, New Brunswick. What makes them unique is their smart and effective way of integrating teaching into volunteering, according to the Washington Post.
Bread Mondays is the organization's community program that allows people to sign up for bread-baking lessons at Fredericton’s Greener Village food bank. This opportunity not only teaches baking but also lets people volunteer to help the needy. On Mondays, volunteers showcase the baking skills they've learned and make around 200 loaves of bread that are later distributed. They can also take a fresh loaf for themselves. A 60-year-old volunteer, Gary Farrah said, "Yes, it’s relaxing—I do enjoy the feeling of my hands in the dough. But I also like knowing that I’m doing something that will help somebody else to have something delicious. The more bread I bake, the better I feel."
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Alex Boyd, the CEO of Greener Village got this intriguing idea of teaching people to bake. When he shared a video of a break-making class on Facebook it was well-received and decided to start the baking classes last January. Over 2000 client families registered with the food bank receive the loaves of bread that are baked by the volunteers along with basic requirements like some packed food, fresh produce, milk and canned goods. Last year, the organization managed to give away 5000 loaves of bread to those in need and is targeting 10000 loaves this year. The 39-year-old CEO said that the 'Bread Monday' has been a big hit and around 10 volunteers sign up every time they announce the classes.
Interestingly, Yves Dechaine, Greener Village's chef and kitchen manager who is the baking instructor on "Bread Mondays" follows his grandmother's old recipe. "She taught me when I was young, and I now want to pass the tradition of bread-making along, just as any teacher would," he said and added, "A sense of community is what I hope they take away. I hope it’s filling their hearts because it’s certainly filling mine." Those who couldn't spare time to volunteer in the kitchen baking bread can contribute by donating flour and yeast on Bread Mondays. "The main ingredient is love," Boyd said.
With inflation threatening the affordability of many, Boyd said, "Teaching people to bake bread has a long-term advantage in the fight to combat the rising trend of hunger. We’re giving away something freshly baked, with no preservatives or additives. And there’s nothing like the taste of hot homemade bread." The volunteers often expressed their excitement in getting ready for Bread Mondays where they get to chat and socialize while putting their baking skills to good use. Also, paying back to the community offered them immense satisfaction. Bread Mondays excited not only the volunteers but also the Greener Village clients who loved the smell of fresh loaves of bread that triggered their nostalgia for better times with their families.