At the age of 12, with a desire to give back to my community, I began baking for those undergoing cancer treatment. This work continued and led to providing homemade snacks for front line workers throughout the pandemic. Admittedly, the fear of interacting with those most vulnerable, along with those who cared for them, was intimidating so I started slowly. I baked and delivered my products to the front desk. After several deliveries, they began to recognize me. That’s when they brought me to treatment areas. I found myself in the middle of chaos with patients lining the hall. It was amazing to see the dedicated caretakers whom I had never met, who were so impacted by the simple actions I was performing. Even more so with those I met in housekeeping and security. Advancing this, I began to bake with friends to share the sincere beginnings of engagement in this diverse world I was experiencing.
It was a profound realization that I lived a mere 10 minutes away from the inner city of Hartford where food insecurity is a prominent issue that no one should experience. A clear need for engagement existed which I could no longer ignore. I connected with a community health team, who regularly walks the streets of Hartford, collaborating with local nonprofits and caring for those most vulnerable. Instead of baking for the community team, I began creating individually wrapped bags of healthy and delicious snacks for those in need. When I think about the thousands of people that have been impacted through these simple acts, I am inspired to do more.
Baking is personal but it can lead to a social and necessary act. In a world where there is far too much hate, by beginning to give we can inspire so much change.