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WSU Breadlab bakes for local food pantry during COVID-19

Stephen Jones, director of the Washington State University Breadlab at the Mt. Vernon Research Center, will deliver the 6000th loaf of bread to a nearby food pantry this week since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In mid-March, Jones and his team, with the help of tenant and partner King Arthur Baking Company, added “Baking for Good” to their already full days. Every week since then, Jones has personally delivered hundreds of nutritious, delicious loaves of whole grain bread to organizations that feed community members in need, including schools and food pantries.

“One of the food banks that we deliver to had 2,000 visitors the other day. As a small lab we can’t possibly do enough but we all certainly should do what we can,” Jones said.

WSU Bread Lab branded coffeeTo help cover the costs of these sustained production bakes at WSU Breadlab, Jones’s own extended community has stepped up. Generous personal donations anywhere from $250-$2500 have helped the cause and even funded a large-scale cookie bake so that kids could get a special treat in their lunches. Glory Bee donated 800 pounds of honey for the bread baking and Bellingham-based Camber Coffee developed a special WSU blend where $10 from every bag sold goes directly to the WSU Breadlab.

Due to the persistence of COVID-19, there is no end in sight for WSU Breadlab’s bakes for good. So far, with the help of the Coug community and the baking community, WSU Breadlab has distributed enough bread to make 54,000 sandwiches—and they are not nearly finished.

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