With food banks across the country struggling to keep up with demand amid COVID-19, a New Brunswick baker with a passion for people and baked goods decided to break out her mixer to help.
“I take it for granted that every day I can go grab a fresh, hot roll and slap some butter on it and it is the best thing,” said Debbie MacNair, a baker at Cochran’s Country Market in Rothesay, N.B.
While working overnights making bread, MacNair said, she started thinking about countless people who have lost their jobs amid COVID-19 who may no longer have the luxury of accessing fresh baked goods.
“I have been so thankful that I can continue to work, that I am not affected that way. I have been so lucky in my life that I have never had to be hungry,” she said.
So MacNair said she went to her boss with a plan to come into work early, around 1 a.m., and volunteer her time to bake extra batches of bread every week to donate to organizations that help people in need.
“It is something easy I can do and I can help people,” she said.
The owner of the market, Tim Cochran, said he was more than happy to supply the ingredients.
“I think it is great. There is always a need for it but I think the pandemic has made it more prevalent,” said Cochran.
Debbie said she adds a little extra love into every loaf.
“Hopefully, people who need a little boost get that fresh loaf of bread and, like, wow, maybe it will make somebody smile,” she said.
She said it wasn’t until she started delivering the bread boxes that she realized how great the need is.
“I think it is fabulous because there is definitely a need,” said Tamara Kelly, the executive director of One Change Inc. community centre in Saint John, where MacNair dropped off two boxes of bread this week.
“I think that COVID really highlighted food insecurity in Saint John.”
With a spike in need at food banks across the country, MacNair said she is hoping other bakers will follow her recipe for giving and bake bread to break with others who may need an extra slice of love.