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Helping Those in Knead

Kids show off their bread

French toast, grilled cheese and salad with croutons soon will be on the menu at Interfaith Works, thanks to the generosity and bread baking skills of hundreds of Montgomery County Public Schools students.

Fourth-graders from four elementary schools baked bread at home, putting to use the techniques they learned during a recent visit to the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus.

Students from Laytonsville, Fallsmead, Fox Chapel and Lakewood elementary schools visited the campus in March to participate in the King Arthur Flour Bake for Good Kids: Learn Bake Share program. An instructor from King Arthur Flour taught the students how to bake bread while exploring math and chemistry concepts involved in the process. The lessons aligned with the fourth-grade science curriculum on the changing states of matter, properties of matter and the differences between mixtures and new substances.

King Arthur Flour donated enough ingredients and supplies -- flour, yeast, measuring spoons, bread bags, twist ties -- for each student to bake two loaves of bread at home. The homework assignment: Enjoy one loaf with your family. Bring back to school the second loaf for donation to Interfaith Works.

Staff members from JHU and Interfaith Works visited the students at their schools in April to collect the bread and discuss the importance of giving back to the community.

Homelessness is a real problem in Montgomery County, said Charlotte Garvey, communications manager of Interfaith Works, a nonprofit agency that offers shelter, clothing, support services and food to the poor and homeless.

Garvey showed the students a plastic container that held approximately 900 pieces of Twix cereal, representing the approximately 900 people who are homeless on any given day in Montgomery County.

Garvey told the students the bread they made would be repurposed by the cook at Interfaith Works and would be enjoyed by those who have meals at the shelter. Students talked about the definition of homelessness and offered explanations on why some people are homeless. They talked about soldiers returning from war, joblessness and other misfortunes.

“You have done an amazing thing,” Garvey told the fourth-grade students, thanking them for their generosity. “Bread is meant to be shared.”

CATEGORY: Academics, K-12 Outreach, In The Community