Thursday, July 30, 2009

Baking a Difference

Hey, everyone. My name is Nan. I'm a friend of Scott's and he asked me to be a guest writer on his weekly email this week. I own one of the Great Harvest Bread stores in Salt Lake City and am passionate about baking and making a difference in people's lives. Please read my story below and check out the opportunity to help less-fortunate families AND check out the coupon below to get a free loaf of artisan bread from the Great Harvest store at 9th and 9th.

Last week I had the opportunity to be with bakery friends serving dinner at the Road Home family shelter. I have been there before serving dinners to homeless families, but this time was a bit different. Instead of serving approximately 75 people as we had in the past, I believe we served closer to 150. This time, the line of people, mostly young children, seemed unending. Ashley, the volunteer coordinator, explained that the shelter is currently overflowing with so many families that many have to sleep on cots in the halls. I assumed that many service groups would be bringing dinners in the summer, but Ashley told me that the dinner we were serving was the first brought in over a month.

We came back two nights later to share a family bread making activity with the shelter. In my time at Great Harvest I have led hundreds of bread making parties and field trips; kneading dough, reading The Little Red Hen, grinding wheat into flour, and teaching kids about whole grains. Like all the others, this activity was fun but it was also uniquely challenging. Children participating ranged in age between 3 and 12, all of them eager to take part and be noticed. The only space available for this activity was the crowded and unequipped common shelter kitchen- it is the communal living space for all the families and there is a lot of comings and goings making it difficult to stay organized and be heard. With a lot of help from my bakery friends, all the kids kneaded their own dough and baked their own bread. Against all odds, eventually the smell of fresh baked bread filled the kitchen. The highlight of the evening was helping the kids take turns grinding wheat on the small mill. When they turned the handle, we had everyone count "One, two, three.." Something about having a whole room full of people counting out loud for them really lights kids up. From the curly haired three year old girl to the teenage boys trying to look and act a lot tougher than they felt, every kid was just beaming when it came to their turn.

Although I went home tired and feeling discouraged about all the things these kids are lacking, I held joy in remembering the small shiny moments from our evening. I thought about how Scott's guided meditations of Yoga Nidra (Thursday nights at Centered City Millcreek) have taught me to hold joy and pain at the same time while understanding that my divine essential nature is bigger than both. In the past, without this perspective, I have sometimes collapsed under the weight of a broken heart and chosen not do anything just because I can't fix everything. With a Yoga Nidra perspective, I am able to do something else: to remember that a broken heart is an open heart and to use my open heart to do all the small things that I can, remembering that life is nothing but an accumulation of small moments and each one makes a difference. My invitation to you is to join me in some small things. Here are three easy things that you can do:

Join us at our Great Harvest pancake breakfast to benefit The Road Home on Saturday, August 8th from 8:30 to 10:30. All you can eat, 100% whole-grain pancakes will be served for a suggested minimum donation of $3.00 per person. Feel free to give more because all proceeds from the breakfast will be donated directly to the Road Home. The Holladay, Draper, Downtown, and Taylorsville Great Harvest bakeries are all participating. (See www.greatharvestutah for addresses.) Our goal is to raise $5000 with the breakfast.
Buy a great looking limited edition t-shirt designed specifically to benefit the Road Home. Shirts can be purchased at, but are only available until August 31st so order yours today. The shirts look great and our goal is to help sell just 500 shirts in order to raise an additional $3000 for the Road Home. ( Christmas gifts, if you are thinking ahead!)
* Please forward this message to your friends and family and courage them to participate.
* Forward to a Friend

Thanks for reading and helping. I hope to see you at Scott's Yoga Nidra class on Thursdays. Peace and love.


Lissa said...

I'm excited for the pancake breakfast... Is there a coupon for bread?

Pat said...

Nan, In life it is our job to be present for our fellow human beings. Your evening with those children at the shelter has made a difference far greater than any material item. You gave them your time and your presence.