When was the last time you had a bake sale? Or bought something from one? Every summer the kids down the block, smartly taking advantage of the drunken hordes on their way to/from Wrigley Field, set up a little lemonade stand with cookies. Yeah, it may be instant Country Time and packages of Nabisco but I can’t walk by their earnest little faces without getting something. They must have a helluva college fund by now. But when I sit down and really think about it, I struggle to remember the last time I participated in a bake sale. Junior high, maybe? I think we were trying to raise money for our cheerleading uniforms and made chocolate chip cookies from a box mix. I remember thinking back then, at the tender age of 12, why would you use a box mix for chocolate chip cookies? But they sold crazy fast and I learned one of the key tenets of marketing that has served me well over the years – boys will buy anything.
The devastation in Haiti has been tough for me – and most of us I’m sure – to view. As I watch the scenes on TV and read the online reports, my heart sinks further by the hour. I sit here, with a roof over my head, dinner on the stove and water just a short step away and feel the despair. I checked in with my aunt who’s done health aid work in Haiti. The folks she works with are on the other side of the island, far from the epicenter, and all is well. I don’t have much money and I capitulate about who to best donate what little I have – Red Cross? Doctors without Borders? Yele Haiti? I’ve contemplated volunteering but what can I do? Bake fruit tarts? Well yes, as a matter of fact, I can.
Now here’s why I love Twitter. A few days ago, a tweet came across my phone screen “Bake Sale for Haiti 1/18: Bakers Needed!” from @my_veg_blog a.k.a. Joanna Miller. She was coordinating a bake sale as part of a concert benefit and was looking for donations. Well hot damn, this I can do! I looked around and took a quick inventory. I had plenty of raw ingredients – butter, eggs, flour, sugar, chocolate. No need to even go to the store – how typical of me. So this morning I woke up early and knocked out a few things – vanilla apricot jam tarts, double chocolate cookies and a chocolate salted caramel cake. A bit much perhaps but I was on a roll. I packaged them up ever so prettily and Joanna swept through this afternoon on a pick up run. Could not have been easier and though it was a small gesture, it was absolutely do-able. Don’t feel you can’t make a difference.
Turns out there are quite a few bake sales for Haitian Relief happening, probably very near you. Dana over at the kitch’n blog explains it all so much more eloquently than I. As she writes, “In the end, a bake sale’s greatest contribution isn’t just the money raised, it’s also the experience of community and the satisfaction that comes from joining together for a greater good. This takes us beyond the anonymous, individual act of writing a check and into a larger sense of belonging.” Here here, Miss Dana.
So if you’re in Chicago, try to hit The Hideout tomorrow night (1/18) for a Haitian Relief Benefit featuring The Waco Brothers and Eleventh Day Dream. Show starts at 8:00pm and tickets are 20 bucks. Such a deal! And to sweeten it even more, there will be tons of delicious baked goods for sale contributed by nearly 20 local bloggers and bakers. While you’re there, look for my stuff and pay more than they’re asking. I’m not kidding – my stuff is great and it’s for a good cause. Live music, delicious treats and some quality booze – what else do you need?!?
And if you’re not in Chicago, do a quick google search and see if there’s a relief bake sale near you or better yet … form your own. Every little bit helps.
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: HIGHEST YET! Benefit baking is the most rewarding of all. The ultimate in exploring the bake and release theory.
1/19/10 UPDATE: the benefit last night raised nearly $8000 for Haitian relief with the bake sale alone raising over $700 of that. Well all right!!