DEXTER, Maine — More than 200 loaves of homemade bread will be on the tables of families in need, thanks to Ridge View Community School students and King Arthur Flour.
The Dexter, Ripley, Garland and Exeter pupils in grades four through seven converted 1,258 pounds of flour and 350 packets of yeast donated by King Arthur, through its free Life Skills Bread Baking Program, into fresh loaves of bread. The bread, individually packaged in plastic bags also donated by King Arthur Flour, was collected Tuesday by organizers of the Dexter Community Food Closet. The closet serves about 60 families representing more than 140 people.
“This will be enough for each family to have two loaves with some to spare,” Reggie Mossey, a food closet volunteer, said Tuesday. He said the bread will be frozen until Saturday, when the food closet is open.
For teacher Don Grillo, who spearheaded the school program, it was an amazing “aha” moment for many of the children. A King Arthur baker demonstrated to the students how bread is made. When the baker showed them dough that had been prepared earlier and had risen above the bowl, there were “oohs and ahs,” Grillo said. For many, it was the first time they had seen bread made, he noted.
Grillo said each child was provided two 2-pound bags of flour, a packet of yeast, a dough scraper and a recipe booklet and was asked to make two loaves of bread, one to keep and the other to be donated. Because the pupils did the baking at home on Monday, a holiday, school officials had hoped for 60 percent participation, but they did better than that, according to Grillo.
The program integrated science into the cooking lesson, but the best part for Grillo was the opportunity for students to participate in community service.
“In my 27 years of teaching, I’ve never seen anything where we give back to the community,” he said. The community supports the students’ education and assists in their fundraising events, but this was the first “give-back” by them, he added.
Grillo said the pupils did a good job helping the community and they had fun in the process.