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Seattle-area 'baking brigade' makes homemade bread for families in need

About 95 home bakers have teamed up to bake bread for distribution at Puget Sound-area food pantries. They ramped up their efforts in the coronavirus crisis.

KIRKLAND, Wash. — What started as a Facebook group has turned in to a passion project that’s benefiting communities in need.

Katherine Kehrli is an associate dean at Seattle Central College's Culinary Academy and spends her off-time leading an impressive group of volunteers who have spent the last few months baking in support of coronavirus pandemic relief efforts.

They first got organized on a Facebook group called NW Bread Bakers and now they help local families struggling during the pandemic.

It’s called “Community Loaves” and the group has hundreds of bakers who range from newcomers to seasoned chefs that are all focused on proving food to those in need through kindness and “breaducation” via an online network of participants.

“The basic idea is to bake four loaves and donate three of them,” Kehrli said.

Her garage is currently serving as the prep kitchen where she and her volunteers bag up the supplies that her “baking brigade” needs for their next effort.

Local flour and other ingredients are purchased in bulk and divided up to distribute among the network of bakers.

Numerous houses act as drop off points and the group combines efforts to feed local families.

Community Loaves currently has nearly 100 volunteers baking out of their quarantined kitchens and deliver loaves of locally sourced bread to community partners like Hope Link. 

“They’re supporting 3,000 families a week," Kehrli said.

The Northwest Bread Bakers hold weekly info sessions on Zoom and interested volunteers can learn more on their Facebook page. Or sign up for one of their upcoming info sessions.