Bake Me Home Tote Bag Program
Our Tote Bag Program began with a simple idea from Amy and Emma. They (with help from their mom, Alison) founded Bake Me Home based upon their own love of baking and spending time together. They started the Tote Bag Program to help families leaving shelters celebrate the beginning of a new life in a new home. Amy and Emma delivered tote bags to the first shelter in October 2008, and today this program plans to serve 500 families from 16 agencies in 4 Ohio counties. A complete list of our partnered agencies is available on our home page.
While their original idea began with a simple jar of homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix, they quickly decided to add the mixing bowl, spoon, cookie sheet, pot holder, spatula, toothbrushes and toothpaste. This growing pile of goodies necessitated delivering them in a sturdy tote bag, hence the name for our program. A $10 gift card to Kroger was also added for the essential butter and eggs needed to complete the recipe and to purchase a few other groceries. Finally, a recipe booklet filled with low-cost, kid-friendly, nutritious recipes donated by Nutrition Council of Greater Cincinnati was added with funding from The Ronald McDonald House. While prices can change slightly, the total cost for each of our Bake Me Home Tote Bags averages about $25.
We were thrilled to announce the completion of our kitchen in September 2013, allowing us to welcome groups of volunteers into our new home for cookie mix assembly and baking sessions! We also have opportunities in this wonderful new space for groups to fill Tote bags. Volunteers as young as four years old are welcome at all sessions with an adult accompanying them. Private sessions are also available for service groups. We thank all our volunteers for donating their time and also thank SNOWIE for donating all of our sugar! Anyone interested in volunteering can register their email address on the right hand side panel of our website, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bake Me Home Pantry Totes
We began distribution of our Pantry Totes in March 2010 as a division of our Tote Bag Program. This modified version of our original Tote Bag includes a jar of our homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix, a potholder, a cookbook, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and a $10 Kroger gift card to families utilizing five local food pantries, SEM, CAIN, MEAC, Inter Parish Ministry and the YWCA/Eastern Area Food Pantry.
These totes are primarily supplemental to our Tote Bag Program, and therefore the number of distributions varies depending on our financial situation.
Picture Me Home Program
Our Picture Me Home Program is without a doubt the one that tugs on our heartstrings most often. For less than $2.00 worth of ink, paper, and a picture frame, we have seen mothers cry as the only picture they may have of their kids comes to life. Photographer Annette Bryant, who expressed a desire to “do something for people who can’t afford pictures of their kids,” inspired this program. We have our own photography equipment and photo printer and work with a team of volunteers and professional photographers to provide free, on-the-spot, 5×7 framed portraits to shelter families. We partner with shelters, food pantries, and other programs that serve kids in need. Thanks to receiving a Magnified Giving Grant from the students of Seton High School, Picture Me Home continues to grow and expand. Over 450 families have received portraits from this program!
Volunteers interested in helping with photo shoots should contact our Family Portrait Program Director, Lois Kratohvil, at email@example.com. In addition, we continually accept donations of new and gently used 5×7 picture frames for our families.
Bake It Forward was created after Amy and Emma won a $5000 grant for Bake Me Home from the Sodexo Foundation. They were so moved by the experience that they wanted to share it with other kids. This was the beginning of our Bake Me Home Service Grants. Kids entering grades 2-9 can apply for grants of $100 each for a charity of their choice serving children in Ohio. Each applicant must perform a summer service project for a charity that benefits children. Amy and Emma then choose three winners and present these awards at a ceremony at The Duke Energy Children’s Museum. Our winners also each receive a “Bake It Forward” t-shirt and a jar of Bake Me Home Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. This program is designed to encourage kids to be creative and get involved with other organizations in the community, furthering our mission of “promoting volunteerism.”
Applications for our 2014 grants will be due in September. Please check back later for a link to the on-line application.
Anyone with questions can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our past winners:
Home is often very far away for men and women serving in our military, but you can send a little taste of “BACK HOME” to a service member deployed overseas! Make a $30 donation and we’ll send 48 Bake Me Home Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies to your loved one. To date, over 7,000 cookies have been to sent to our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our goal is that the taste of our homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies will help our military men and women feel like they are “BACK HOME,” even if it’s just for a moment.
In an effort to extend that sense of “home” to our local veterans, we have expanded our services to those who are wounded and sick staying at Fisher House at the VA Medical Center. We make weekly visits to Fisher House and provide fresh baked cookies and jars of cookie mix to the veterans and their families.
Volunteers interested in baking and/or making deliveries to Fisher House should contact us at email@example.com.
Donations to support our Fisher House Program or to send cookies to a service member overseas can be made here on our website, or mailed to:
Bake Me Home, P.O. Box 30082, Cincinnati, OH 45230