Who would have believed that Mrs. Kelly's Irish bread would stir up a bread spreading revolution around the world; inspiring the grassroots nonprofit, Spread the Bread. This international bread-giving organization teaches millions they can "bake a difference" by offering freshly baked, wrapped and decorated breads to honor our heroes and help those in need.
Happily embracing the memory of her mother’s
Irish bread, Karen Kelly Kiefer and her children began making, baking and spreading this Irish bread to neighbors, friends back in the late nineties. Inspired again by the wonderful response to the gesture, and winning dozens and dozens of Land O Lakes butter coupons, they bake more and more bread, dressing the breads with cards and artwork and dropping them off to local nursing homes and shelters. "As a child her bread spoke to me,” said Kiefer, "letting me know I was home, I was safe; I was cared for, loved. As I grew older, her bread spoke to others, letting them know they are safe, they are cared for, not forgotten, loved."
After the devastation of September 11th, Kiefer, with the help of close friend, Juliette Fay, officially launchedSpread the Bread. Together, they saw a need and an opportunity to use bread to heal and comfort their Wayland, Massachusetts community, and to teach children in a changing world it is still important and easy to make a difference by reaching in and reaching out.
Bread called this Wayland community back into their kitchens to bake bread---any kind of bread- to honor heroes and help those in need. The breads were wrapped and tied with an expression of "goodwill": a simple card, artwork, a poem, a meaningful story--anything that communicated an uplifting message. The breads were then dropped off at local schools, businesses and churches. What happened next was incredible; hundreds and later thousands of different kinds of bread spread to honor the police, firefighters, veterans and to help those in need: the elderly, the sick, the hungry, and the homeless for National “Make a Difference Day.”
The word spread and so did the bread....
Eleven years later, this bread-giving legacy is now contagious, with hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of loaves of bread spread. Bread groups have been hosted in almost every state in the USA, and with the help of the Girl Scouts, they are continuing to form in countries around the world: Canada, France, Australia, Hungry, South Korea, Kuwait, and Zimbabwe. The breads are spread in all different sizes, shapes, flavors, from many different cultures and are spread for many different reasons: honor breads, memorial breads, prayer breads, celebration breads, and more.
The project has also been incorporated into educational service-learning curriculums and youth organizations' programs, such as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. After learning more about the art, science, technology, history and culture of bread, youth can earn a special patch for their bread service.
Special thanks to the Wayland, Massachusetts community and founding families: the Fays, the Stacks, the Lidingtons, the Pierces, the Morans, the Murtaghs, the Kennedys, the Kiefers