Bake a Treat and Take It to a Neighbor

Posted March 25, 2020

by Marsha Boswell, Director of Communications

March is Bake and Take Month. Each year in March, we encourage you to bake a plate of cookies or a cake or a loaf of bread and take it to a friend, neighbor or relative. The highlight of this visit for the elderly, ill or shut-ins is when you take time to visit with them when you drop off the treat you made.

Obviously, this year, we cannot encourage these visits. We are staying at home, physically social distancing ourselves from even our closest friends and relatives.

Like so many people, I am working from home. I am one of the lucky ones who is able to continue working, connecting with colleagues across the country. Many of our neighbors have lost their jobs, don’t know where their meals are coming from, or don’t know how they’re going to pay their rent this month.

Last night, while I was rummaging through my new home office desk, I ran across a file labeled, “Letters from Home.” Inside this file are a number of letters that I received from my mom, sisters and grandmas during my first year of college. Many of them were handwritten, and some were typed on an old Packard Bell computer and printed on a dot matrix printer. Some included coloring sheets and pictures that my younger sisters had sent me during that first year when I was no longer at home. The one thing they all had in common was that I saved them. I saved them for 24 years, and reading through them again brought tears to my eyes.

We don’t write handwritten letters much anymore, but the ones we have are special. There are letters in my file from my grandma who has since passed away.

During these unprecedented times, why not write a handwritten note to include with your baked treat and drop it off on a neighbor’s doorstep? You could even have your kids draw a picture to accompany the note and treat.

We have some time right now to spend with our children baking. Let’s bake with them and share those treats with someone who possibly doesn’t have children at home. There are so many people who live alone who would welcome a care package.

Bake and Take began in 1970 as a community service project of the Kansas Wheathearts in Sumner County. The Kansas Wheathearts, an auxiliary organization of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, set out to share baked goods with family members, friends, neighbors and those in need, generating goodwill in the community. The idea of a community member sharing a favorite recipe with someone special became so successful that the Kansas Wheathearts created a national Bake and Take celebration in 1973.

While the purpose of Bake and Take Month is to encourage participants to bake a product made from wheat and take it to a neighbor, friend or relative, the personal visit to members of the community has become as rewarding and important as the baked goods you take them.

This year, let’s consider celebrating this 50-year tradition in a new way, with a baked treat and a handwritten note.

You never know, once you get a chance to visit your neighbors in person, you may see your child’s drawing posted on their refrigerator, reminding them daily of the special gift you gave.

If you’re looking for recipe ideas, check out the delicious and well-tested bread recipes at nationalfestivalofbreads.com and all the treat and dinner recipes at eatwheat.org. As always, it's especially important to follow food safety recommendations and wash your hands before, during and after baking. Resources are available at homebaking.org/baking-food-safety.

Be sure to share your stories with us at facebook.com/kansaswheat.