August 2, 2008

Norman Girls Bake Treats to Help Others

By Tami Althoff, The Oklahoman

Aug. 2--NORMAN -- Three years ago, Jenna McIntosh decided to find a summer project she could do with her granddaughter, Abby Flax, now 11. After shuffling through several ideas, she decided the two could bake bread together, then sell it and donate the money to charity.

Abby enjoyed it so much, last year they recruited Abby's cousin, Ali McIntosh, now 9, to help out. Now, it's a summer tradition. Once a week each summer, the girls meet at their grandmother's house and spend the afternoon baking banana, pumpkin or zucchini bread. They call it "Perfect Little Angel Bread."

"They do all the baking themselves. I just supervise the ingredients and make sure they get everything in there. And, of course, I help with the oven," Jenna McIntosh said.

While the bread is baking, the girls log the sizes and number of loaves they made, what kind of bread they made, what they are selling the bread for that week and other details in a special journal.

After the bread is wrapped, bagged and labeled (the labels also are homemade -- Abby did the writing and Ali did the artwork, which includes a loaf of bread with wings and a halo), the girls' grandmother takes them around town to sell the bread.

"We go to our grandfather's office, we go to my mom's office and sometimes we go to my grandma's friend's house," Ali said. "Last week we went to my mom's office and to Lollie's Beauty Bar, and sometimes we go to Estella Ray's on Campus Corner."

The girls use most of the proceeds to support a local nonprofit organization. This year they chose to help the diaper closet at Center for Children and Families. The diaper closet offers families small packages of diapers, wipes and formula.

Whitney Russell, communication specialist for the Center for Children and Families, said parents who are struggling can visit the diaper closet once a month.

"We give families a little bit of help just so they can get through the month," Russell said. "We give them a package of 8 to 12 diapers, just enough so they don't have to make a decision between buying diapers and buying groceries."

The girls call the Center for Children and Families each week to find out what size diapers they need.

After the bread is sold, they calculate how many diapers they can buy. The girls said they prefer to buy Pampers with UNICEF stickers because, for each package of diapers they buy, Pampers donates the cost of one tetanus vaccination to help women and children in developing countries.

"That way we do two things in one," Abby said.

The girls keep $5 each time they sell bread, which is used to throw an end-of-summer pizza party for their entire family.

The girls have never complained about giving the rest of the money away, their grandmother said.

"They are very giving," she said. "They've always been very excited about it."

The girls said they hope to add new recipes, and they are thinking of ways to expand their project to help more people.

"We were thinking about doing more batter, or going to twice a week so we can buy more diapers," Ali said.

"We will probably add other charities, too," Abby said.

The girls said they have learned a lot about helping others through their summer project and hope to inspire other children to help charities, too.

"More people should do things for charity because it really helps people when you do," Ali said.


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