As a child, Karen Kiefer always loved the warm Irish bread that her mother used to bake for her and her four siblings. As a child her bread spoke to me,” said Kiefer, "letting me know I was home, I was safe; I was cared for, loved. As I grew older, her bread spoke to others, letting them know they are safe, they are cared for, not forgotten, loved." Not surprisingly, Kiefer wanted to pass on this tradition of baking and sharing bread and love with her daughters.
So 10 years ago, Kiefer and her daughters began making, baking and sharing bread with neighbors and friends in their community. The response to their kindness was so overwhelmingly positive that the family decided to expand the gesture, giving bread to as many people as possible and wrapping their loaves with cards and artwork. When the devastation hit on Sept. 11, 2001, Kiefer decided to join with her friend Juliette Fay to officially launch Spread the Bread
. Together, the women saw a need and an opportunity to use bread to heal and comfort their Wayland, Mass., community, and to teach children how to "bake a difference" by reaching in and reaching out.
According to their website, Spread the Bread
is a global grassroots bread-giving initiative that encourages people around the world to bake bread to share with others. The breads are as diverse as the expressions of hope and happiness they are wrapped in. The breads are then collected and delivered to heroes or to help those in need. The most important thing the founders of Spread the Bread want everyone to know is that the organization was begun as a way to involve kids in charitable giving at an early age so that they would see it as a way of life.
"The great thing about spread the Bread is that anyone can do it. There’s a role for anyone who wants to be a part of it – whether it’s organizing, baking, delivering, etc. We just encourage you to invite kids and families to be involved in whatever way they can. Also, you can make a difference with just a few loaves. You don’t have to worry about running a huge bread drive."