That's just what the two friends have done with Spread the Bread, a grassroots group that brightens lives and fills stomachs by distributing home-baked bread to food banks, shelters, nursing homes and fire and police stations. Since 2001, hundreds of families have contributed nearly 7,000 loaves, mostly in Massachusetts. "Bread is a way to open doors," says Kiefer, 44. "It's an extension of community."
The baking began in the days after Sept. 11, 2001. To comfort their own children, Kiefer and Fay began baking bread with them and giving it to firefighters and police. "Everyone felt insecure, unsafe and scared," says Kiefer. "We [wanted] to focus on empowering kids to make them feel safe." Gratified with the response, the pair posted flyers and asked social-service agencies about their needs. Within months they had a network of volunteers spreading the bread even further. Laurie Hojlo, who runs a Wayland food pantry, says her needy clients appreciate the personal touch. "It's a huge lift for them," says Hojlo. "They realize somebody is thinking about them."
In 2003 Kiefer and Fay published a recipe book and started an electronic newsletter to recruit for special bread drives. Says Fay: "It teaches children that with their little hands, they can make a difference."