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Local service program launches student-run bakery


The local service program GIVES launched Flour Power, a student-run bakery in November in conjunction with Greene Middle School beginning to offer the Presidential Volunteer Service Award.

GIVES is designed to provide services to members of the community, and Flour Power is a new initiative where Greene students will provide freshly baked bread to schools and clubs around Palo Alto. 

GIVES founder Lisa Bertelsen-Kivett said the program has been active in providing service projects to the community since starting at Addison in 2019 before broadening its support to Greene with Flour Power this year. 

It was another Greene parent, Jessica Galbraith, who had the idea of baking bread as a service project,” Bertelsen-Kivett said.

Galbraith said she was inspired to develop service opportunities for local communities because of her childhood love for baking bread.

“I have a 30-quart mixer, and I’ve been baking bread since I was 8 years old,” Galbraith said. “I started looking around and thinking, “What can I do to teach kids about service?” (Baking bread) seemed like a logical thing for us to do.” 

Bertelsen-Kivett said the freshly baked bread Flour Power makes will be sent to various local programs in need.

 “The week before Thanksgiving, 17 Greene students baked 90 loaves of bread for Costaño School of the Arts and the annual Thanksgiving dinner, held at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, in East Palo Alto,” Bertelsen-Kivett said.

In order to provide additional support for Costaño, Bertelsen-Kivett said Flour Power will also be selling loaves of bread in a process similar to a bake sale.

“In addition to baking and donating loaves every other week, Greene is going to start a student-run bakery,” Bertelsen-Kivett said. “Students will sell loaves to friends and family and the profits will pay for the bread they donate. So it will be a self-sustaining enterprise.”

Galbraith said this pop-up bakery model will pay for future ingredients and keep Flour Power self-sufficient.

“It’s a relatively low cost thing to make. We can make bread for about $1 per loaf,” Galbraith said. “But we want the kids to earn money for the ingredients. So they’re going to bake bread and sell it to pay for the ingredients.”

Greene students who participate in Flour Power will receive service hours to contribute to their application for the PVSA. Under this program, students can earn awards based on their volunteer hours. This award, which is also offered at Paly, is a new opportunity for Greene students.

Galbraith said she loves the addition of the PVSA to Greene because it encourages student service and all the benefits that come with volunteering.

“One of the proven ways that kids can reduce their likelihood of depression is by thinking about other people besides themselves and finding meaning and being of service to other people,” Galbraith said.

Galbraith said she encourages Palo Alto families to buy Flour Power’s baked goods and support the cause. 

“Look for baked for-sale items, and buy it so we can self-run,” Galbraith said. “You can support the cause by buying loaves of bread.”

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Rohan Bhatia, Sports Editor
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