Monday, March 20, 2006

A Great Harvest Indeed

Last Sunday, the exceptionally good people at Great Harvest Baking Company donated their facility and the ingredients for baking bread (and cookies and cinnamon rolls and muffins), and Mother Bear Project volunteers baked, worked the registers and cleaned up, and every dollar of the day’s sales went to the Mother Bear Project.

The DemiGoddesses and I had tried to volunteer to help with baking or selling, but after seeing us in action at the Pride Festival last summer, and again at the Just Giving fair in December, Amy, the Mother Bear Project founder, insisted that the girls and I once again staff the bear sponsorship table. So the three of us spent most of the day explaining to people over armloads of baked goods that the bears piled on the table were not for sale, they were for children in Africa who’ve been impacted by AIDS, and we were looking for sponsors to help us get the bears to the children. Sometimes we held the people’s bread for them as they carefully chose a bear and then wrote their name on the tag.

An article in the community paper and announcements at area church services helped bring an astonishing number of people into the bakery during the course of the day. One of Amy’s sisters donned a big furry bear costume, complete with a signature Mother Bear Project red heart and tag, to draw in even more traffic from outside. When she got tired of it, DemiGoddess the Elder eagerly volunteered to take over the bear suit for awhile. Demi the Younger and Amy’s own daughter, carrying signs, followed my dancing bear Demigoddess outside, and I couldn’t help but giggle watching the three of them boogie around and wave at passing cars from the curb in front of the bakery.

As usual, my involvement with this group has left me feeling all glowy and swoony over how kind and giving people can be. One of the day’s highlights was a woman who donated $10 to sponsor a bear at our table, and then left with her bread purchases, only to return a short while later. She came to me and said, “When I got in my car, I started to cry, and I knew I had to come back.” Then she handed me a check for $200. I nearly started crying, too.

According to an e-mail I received from Amy this morning, between the bread sales, the bear sponsoring, and the knitting kits and patterns we sold, the event brought in $8,500. I’d call that an overwhelming success.

The only fly in the ointment came after our day at the bakery was done, when the Demis and My Ho and I were at my parents’ house for our family’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day Irish dinner. The corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes were delicious, as always (thanks, mom), but when the basket of soda bread came around, the Demis cringed away from the sight of it.

“No bread,” they cried. “NO MORE BREAD!”


Aj said...

I *love* Great Harvest - good bread, good company, great people! The event sounds fantastic: you and your girls are amazing to give of your time and energy and love.

And wow: to reach a bread limit - I didn't think it was possible. :)

Melissa said...

Those bears are so cute. And so are your kids. I am with the person above on the bread thing. I love bread.