Our mission is to spread kindness and create human connection through bread. On Saturday, October 24, 2020, a historical day, we did just that!
BREAD Encounters held its first baking activities on the ECTLC campus which houses 400 residents in a transitional housing program, over 100 of them children. When we originally met with Director of Family Services James Merino and his lovely wife Claudia (Program Coordinator), he mentioned to us that that they had few programs for children at ECTLC. Since our programs can be tailored to a variety of audiences, it was decided that our initial programs would focus on the children.
Sabine Friedrich-Walter, BREAD Encounters' Program Director, decided on a outdoor "pizza on the barbeque" baking event with selected children, while I (founder of BREAD Encounters) had the opportunity to lead my first official bread therapy session since getting certified by BREAD House Network in Sofia, Bulgaria this summer.
While Sabine was off to a bit of a rough start in the morning due to some initial hickups with the set up, once everything was in place, her pizza workshop for the kids (which included some unique pizza cookies) was much enjoyed by both the participants and their enthusiastic teacher!
My own class was not until the afternoon and I had the pleasure of having the support of my dear friend Ret. Navy Commander Tim McCully, the current Rotary Club of Point Loma President. Although by his own admission not the artistic type, Tim kindly participated in our flour drawing and the kids enjoyed hearing his explanation of the character he drew, the Dread Pirate Roberts. The premise for the flour drawings was to chose a favorite character from a movie, book or video. In the sharing part of the class, the children talked about their characters and what qualities of their characters made them their favorite. We learned about "The Good Egg", Fusion Droid and even Captain Hook made it into a flour drawing. Since he generally is not recognized as a good character per se, I asked young Malachi how he came to chose Captain Hook. His explanation was an interesting one: He acknowledged that Hook was a bad guy, but that he was very imressed with the great acting skills of the person who portrayed Hook in the movie! We also learned that Fusion Droid and The Good Egg would not get along with each other if they happened to end up in the same universe. Who knew?
Malachi was not one of our assigned children for the class but he stopped by our class room and looked like he really wanted to participate and so, after procuring a face mask for him, we had him join the class. And a good thing it was! Otherwise we never would have learned about Captain Hook's great acting skills!
During this part of our class we had some visitors in the form of a film crew who came to take some footage of our bread therapy session for ECTLC's upcoming Virtual Gala in November. After all, ECTLC is the pilot for the first BREAD Houses Network program in a Transitional Housing Center!
Saturday was also designated International Bake Bread For Peace Day and I shared with the children that a lady in Ireland named Kelly Breezy who founded this event, was aware of our baking event today. One of the children told us that his teacher showed them a world map and I suggested that he look up Ireland when he went back to online class on Monday. He was also going to look up Bulgaria which is the country that BREAD Houses Network is located.
For Bake Bread for Peace Day, I had baked a very delicious chocolate chip sourdough loaf with a half a pack of melted chocolate chips which had been donated to me. We offered a slice of bread with butter to quite a few children who came by to check out what we were doing. The last two pieces were saved for bread enthusiast James Merino, who just LOVES (my) sourdough! All in all at least ten people shared our peace bread.
The kids were quite fascinated with the rising of their bread puppets in the two portable convection ovens we brought along. Everyone went home with a personalized paper bag to store their bread treasures before sharing them with their onsite families. What a great event this was! Thank you ECTLC for giving us the opportunity to share our love and passion for bread with the ECTLC community!