What Does a Loaf of Bread Mean to a Person

 Why do I feed these kids that I am always cooking for?  This is a question I am seriously rethinking this morning.  Sometime around the holidays, someone mentioned this after school program that was held in this small town for underprivileged children. It stuck with me and one day I sent some cookies over.  After that, I would send a treat over once a week. Soon it turned into twice a week and then every weekday.  I did it because I thought it would be fun for them to have treats after school.  I remembered how hungry my kids and their friends were at that age and I just felt the need to provide them with a snack.  I really didn't think it through too much because let's face it...they were a captive food audience for me.  I'm always looking for food guinea pigs to feed.  It was a win/win because I got to cook and they got to eat.  That all changed for me yesterday.

I baked 6 loaves of bread.
Months ago when The Blog Tech  and I were going to maple festivals, I bought a bunch of maple cream spread with the kids in mind.  I planned on baking them bread so they could spread the maple cream on it.  Believe me, this is a huge treat.  You don't find things as delicious as this.  It has always been one of my kids favorites treats.

 As the bread was baking, I made a big cheese tray and made a couple meat platters.  I had some ham in the fridge and I spread it with cheese and rolled dill pickles in the middle.  I thought the kids might get a kick out of having appetizers after school.

On one platter I cut up some smoked sausages that I had on hand, on another, I added some slices of salami along with the cutup ham rolls.
 I figured the kids would devour the bread with the maple cream as dessert after they ate the ham and cheese and crackers. I was sure the 4 containers of maple cream would be gone.

So, I wrapped it up and sent it off assuming my ideas for the food would work out.  I woke up this morning to find 3-1/2 containers of the maple cream returned to me, 3 of which were unopened.  I was shocked.  Did the kids not like it?  No, that is not the answer.  The kids were so hungry that they used the bread to make sandwiches with the food on the cheese and meat platters.  Forget fancy, forget treats, these kids just wanted real food.  Plus, not one of them had ever eaten homemade bread before so some of them were just eating plain pieces of bread.  I've been walking around all morning shaking my head. Here I am making "fancy" things for them when all they want is regular food because they are simply HUNGRY! Good god, I am going to rethink how I have been feeding them and start giving them really good food.  I assumed that what I was feeding them was supplemental to what they are eating at home.  My food is basically their main meal.  wow wow wow. I bake bread almost everyday and never think about someone not having something so basic.  Lesson learned! I can hardly think of how many kids there are in the world that are even hungrier than my little group. There is something to laugh about though.  One of the kids is a notoriously picky eater.  He picked up a piece of the bread that was spread with the maple cream and eyeballed it, sniffed it, took a bite and then asked if he could have 4 more. Another kid was spreading it on chive flavored crackers and insisted it was really good that way.  I need to remember to be a lot more thankful for what I have.


I always remember a story a foster mother told me many years ago about how one of her little foster girls didn't know what cake was because she'd never had a taste of one in her life.
Lois said…
Oh my goodness, what a lesson for sure! When we first moved back to the city, I helped at the schools snack program. Every morning the kindergarten teachers would bring around 10 students to the staff room and make them toast or english muffins because they had eaten nothing before coming to school. These were 3, 4 and 5 year olds. You are such a blessing to them. :)
Dee said…
Poor little hungry kids. God bless you for your generosity. Keep up the good work.
greekwitch said…
Wow! Not the best post to read while on my period! So, moving!!! Lots of love!!!!!
Anonymous said…
How would You know if no one told You? It's the same here, we who once bragged about having the best social security net in the world, not so any longer.

Thankfully we have free lunch at school (and they can get vegan if they are vagans and if they are allergic they get the right kind of food they need) and they can eat as much as they want to so they at least get one good meal every work day.

People here can get help from some organisations like the Salvation Army but are too embarrased to ask for help. I'm glad they finally told You how hungry these kids are!

Have a great day!
Craig said…
I'm in awe of how much you give for these kids. I would take it as really good feedback if you can tailor your huge efforts more accurately towards what they like the most. But I am 100% sure that they and their families are hugely grateful to you for all that you provide for them. Well done.
Susan said…
I would bet that the taste of homemade bread will be something that they carry with them the rest of their life. And the memory of someone who cared enough to make it for them.
Fiona said…
More proof real food, made at home, by hand, with love can make a difference and is sadly disappearing from our world!
Despite all the rest, the point is your food is making a difference in these kids lives. Love the maple cream and chive cracker story. kids will be kids.
Guillaume said…
This is a very touching post. How something as simple as bread can mean so much.
petoskystone said…
My grands always have free breakfast at school as the entire school is considered low income.
Sophie Laurenti said…
Bless your heart for all your efforts. Reading your blog inspires me to do more for my community.
1st Man said…
Wow, what an amazing observation. I'll have to admit when I was reading your post, I was wondering where you were going with it. I thought it was going to be something like they didn't like it or didn't want it...what a twist you gave us. You are doing such good things, and yet there is so much more we could all do isn't there? Thanks for sharing this....it really makes us rethink things as well.
Barb said…
I work with kids too. Yours is a valuable lesson.
Our city's schools have a program where children in need are given a backpack full of food to bring home for the weekend. There are hungry children everywhere. What a wonderful gift you are giving them.

I just wanted to say this..you ARE grateful for what you have! You've said it before and you've said that this is your way of giving back BECAUSE you are grateful! You give and give and give. And that maple cream spread is (you wre right!) fantastic. I get tempted to just spoon it out of the jar.
I've been hungry (many years ago)and I know how it feels to not even want to get up in the morning..because there is nothing to eat. You and I have both lived through hard times. It's not something you forget. They just eat what is the most familiar to them.
Children usually shy away from the unfamiliar. You are just so darned neat.
You making a difference!!
Heritage Hall said…
One of the reasons one is asked not to donate high heels or dressy dresses to the mission
cause....flip flips and denims ..
what is really needed, practical.
Homemade bread, especially yours, is like manna from Heaven
needing nothing else but the love
you pour into your baking.... I
spy another star or two on your
crown ..... Bless you for the memories you are gifting to these
little ones....
Heritage Hall said…
One of the reasons one is asked not to donate high heels or dressy dresses to the mission
cause....flip flips and denims ..
what is really needed, practical.
Homemade bread, especially yours, is like manna from Heaven
needing nothing else but the love
you pour into your baking.... I
spy another star or two on your
crown ..... Bless you for the memories you are gifting to these
little ones....
Deb said…

I'm a bit lost for words---you're incredible. That's all!
Your post almost made me cry. And I think you are absolutely wonderful in what you are doing!
kymber said…
Jaz - the impact that you are having on those kids' lives is not measurable...they will remember the food that you provided for the rest of their lives! THAT is making a huge impact on the world for the better. you are not only paying it forward - you are PAYING IT FORWARD FOR REAL! i salute you, madame, for all that you do! i can only imagine the stories that these kids currently tell, and will tell in the future and for the rest of their lives, to their friends and family, about the "wonderful lady" who made the best food ever! you and your made-with-love food will live on long after you have left the earth. a commenter up above mentioned more stars in your crown...yes, you will get more stars. simply because you are doing this and asking nothing in return.

on behalf of all of those children that you are feeding, i thank you from the bottom of my heart! you are a maverick and an inspiration!
crazymimi said…
You are the kindest most caring person to take your time and money to help others, God bless you!
Alice said…
This brought tears. How wonderful of you. I feel bad every time I throw food away knowing someone out there is hungry. Perhaps now knowing for many this is their big meal for the day, send more nourishing foods and less cookies though I'm sure those are appreciated.A local law firm sends kids home with a backpack of food for the weekends as many only get the free school meals and go hungry on non-school days.Sad.....