Baked With Care Club Stoller Middle School

Baking Club Brings Socially Distanced Students Together to Fight Hunger 

By Natalie Conway

For students at Stoller Middle School in Beaverton, Oregon, a mutual love of baking turned into a way to spread joy to people going through a difficult time. The Baked with Care Club started when eighth-grade math teacher, Jennifer Swartz, wanted to find a way to connect with students while having to teach remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I thought this would create the teacher-student bond that is so important,” said Swartz. “Plus I love to bake!”

Each week, the students of the Baked with Care Club donate homemade baked goods to Blanchet House of Hospitality who serves them to hundreds of free meal guests. They get to enjoy special cookies, cakes, and other delicious sweets made with love. 

I love baking, and I bake a lot in my spare time,” said seventh-grader Samyata Sharma. “Once I read about the club, I decided that I should spread a little happiness.”

Baked With Care Club Stoller Middle School

Some of the Stoller Middle School students in teacher Jennifer Swartz’s Baked with Care Club.

It’s easy to feel disconnected from others while learning remotely, but baking is a point of connection for students and teachers alike. While the club started in Swartz’s eighth-grade math class, it has expanded as students from other grades and classes have expressed interest in joining. 

Swartz was already familiar with Blanchet House’s services to the community before she became coordinator of the Baked with Care Club. 

Last spring I made lunch sacks for Blanchet House with my family and started following their Facebook page,” she said. After seeing posts about supporters dropping off homemade baked goods, Swartz was inspired to do the same. 

The students bake their favorite easy to serve desserts each week and share pictures of what they made over Zoom. Swartz then collects the students’ baking to deliver to Blanchet House.

The Baked with Care Club offers students a chance to do something they love while making a difference.

Yalani Gopalswamy delivers baked goods to Stoller Middle School as part of the Baked WIth Care club.

Yalini Gopalswamy delivers baked goods to Stoller Middle School as part of the Baked WIth Care club.

 “It made me happy to be able to use my hobby to help people,” said eighth-grader Pragya Saxena. The club’s donated baked goods are distributed to many guests experiencing homelessness or food insecurity who come to dine at one of Blanchet House’s daily meals.

Due to the Coronavirus, many people are in harsh situations,” said student Mahika Bhan. “Why not try to help by donating baked goods?” The COVID-19 crisis has compounded the stressors that many Blanchet meal guests experience, but the Baked with Care Club’s frequent contributions help to support Blanchet’s services in these difficult times. 

Swartz estimates that the club has donated more than 15 dozen baked goods so far, but the club continues to grow and each week the students are baking more. 

“I know that giving hand-baked treats will brighten someone’s mood and make them feel better and happy,” said eighth-grader Dhanya Sriram. “When my friends give me hand-baked treats, I feel really happy and warm inside.”

If you’re interested in making baked goods for Blanchet House’s guests learn more at www.BlanchetHouse.org/Food-Rescue.

 

Natalie Conway is a Marketing and Communications Intern at Blanchet House and a student at Portland State University, where she is majoring in English. When she’s not busy reading a good book or writing for the PSU Vanguard, she loves to explore Oregon’s hiking trails and beaches.

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About Blanchet House

Inside Look at Portland’s Outdoor Homeless Shelters

Our History: Started in 1952 by a Group of Friends

Some of the founders of Blanchet House of Hospitality in the old kitchen circa 2011.

Some of the founders of Blanchet House of Hospitality in the old kitchen circa 2011.

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