Sunday April 20, 2014

Baking with the 'Wright Friends'

Christmas charity initiative rises to the occasion with volunteers, donations
Keith Anderson

Jennifer Wright joins other volunteers in baking up goodies for charity on Saturday in the Kamloops Christian School home-economics class.

The kitchen at Kamloops Christian School was working overtime on Saturday, staffed by a host of volunteers declaring themselves "the Wright Friends."

Jennifer Wright started donating Christmas baking from her own kitchen to New Life Mission in 2012.

"I love to bake but I don't need to eat it," she said. "It's something I've always liked to do, but I also like to donate."

An active volunteer, she always gives to charities at Christmas, but wanted to take a more active role.

This year, expanding the recipe for community compassion, Wright threw open the pantry doors - in a figurative sense - and enlisted the help of donors and friends. They went looking for a kitchen to rent. Instead, the school offered to donate use of its facility.

As corridors teamed with little performers excited over a school pageant presentation, the Wright Friends were locked in the kitchen, turning out pan upon pan of seasonal treats with an output that would put commercial bakers to shame. Only the aroma hinted at what was going on behind that door.

Donors, including Walmart where Wright works, sweetened the pot with cash donations to purchase additional ingredients, which added up to 18 dozen eggs and 15 kilograms of flour. The output amounted to 50 dozen cookies in all varieties, 15 cakes, 240 tarts, a dozen pies, three pans of brownies, a dozen loaves of banana bread and too many squares to count.

"This is about 100 times larger than last year," Wright said.

Wright was attracted to the idea of selfless giving. It was her mother who suggested she contact media as a means of acknowledging contributors.

"This makes me feel really good because it's giving to people who don't know who I am and will never know who I am," she said.

"It's extremely overwhelming how many people helped me," she added. "I could not ask for a better group. A lot said they see this as a different way we could help."

They plan to make it an annual initiative.

The baking will be distributed this year to the Salvation Army and the United Church PIT (People In Transition) Stop as well as the mission.

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