HOLLAND, MI – The coronavirus pandemic presented a unique challenge to the culinary students at Ottawa County Careerline Tech Center: A national flour shortage.
But thanks to a huge flour donation from King Arthur Baking Company, the students were able to fulfill their baking curriculum this year, and shared the love by using the flour to bake thousands of baked goods for hungry kids in Ottawa County.
“We were so grateful, we knew we had to ‘pay it forward,’” said culinary and pastry arts instructor Austin Gresham, in a prepared statement from the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD).
As flour prices increased amid the pandemic, Gresham ran into issues finding the artisan flour needed by students to fulfill their curriculum. The instructor reached out to King Arthur Baking Company when it became clear the usual sourcing channels were unavailable, according to the OAISD release.
When a sales representative from the baking company got back to Gresham, he was blown away to find out King Arthur Baking Company’s leadership decided to donate over a ton of flour to the class.
“Our King Arthur Baking Company sales representative took it upon himself to not only sort the delivery of flour to us but also worked with leadership to donate the entire amount to our class,” Gresham said.
The culinary students decided to pay it forward by donating the baked goods created in the class. The students have since baked and donated over 10,000 pastries to the Holland Rescue Mission and Pack It Up, which sends daily meals home with schoolchildren.
Rebecca English, a culinary arts student and junior at Grand Haven High School, said the donation not only helped students fulfill their curriculum requirements, but also helped the greater Holland community.
“The generosity of King Arthur Baking Company gave us the ability to give back to our community and for that we are very thankful,” English said in a prepared statement.
Gwen Adams, marketing and public relations coordinator for King Arthur Baking Company, said the company was proud to help out students in their culinary education.
“We believe in the power of baking to make a difference – for people and the planet,” Adams said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to seeing the good Tech students will do in the world.”
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