Earlier this week, Meaders Ozarow, owner of Empire Baking Company, received good news: King Arthur Flour wanted to give him another check, this time for $ 1,000, so Empire could bake bread and bake it. donate to a local charity in need.
It was the second time the flour company had called in two weeks. The first time King Arthur called, she and her team made 1,000 buns and delivered them to Furlough Kitchen, the non-profit organization that provides free meals to restaurant and hospitality workers in leave in Dallas.
King Arthur Flour’s new program, called For Goodness Bakes, was created to empower them to give a helping hand to the bakeries in the nations that are their customers and the communities they serve.
“Our baking partners are in trouble and we wanted to help them somehow,” says Carey Underwood, Director of Mission-Based Partnerships with King Arthur Flour. “So we said, ‘How can we help? What can we do?’ And we figured a great way to help would be to pay them to bake and keep their employees, and give the baked goods to people in their neighborhood who need them. We not only gave them funds to continue cooking, but we wanted to give them the opportunity to help in their community.
With a starting budget of $ 32,000, King Arthur Flour, an employee-owned B Company headquartered in Vermont, has already paid a dozen bakeries across the country to bake and donate. Along with Empire Bakery, two others in Texas also received funding: Fluff Bake Bar and Angela’s Oven, both in Houston.
“We know that bakers and bakers want to bake, and we want them to keep baking, and we want to make an impact by helping these small businesses,” Underwood said. “And we want to make an impact in a way that fits well with our mission, which is to build community through cooking. What better way to do this than to partner with bakeries so they can build communities in their region? It’s just part of who we are.
Like almost all of Dallas’ food retailers, as well as bakeries, Empire struggles to stay afloat.
“Right now we’re in a position where every dollar counts,” says Ozarow. “Sales are down 80% and we’re trying to find a way to make it work. I was delighted that they wanted to pay for the product and distribute it to the community. I’m right on the moon. It strengthened my belief in King Arthur. We have worked with them for 27 years.
Ozarow was also fortunate to receive federal funding in the form of a Paycheck Protection Program loan, which Empire uses to pay its 65 employees.
Ozarow is currently researching charities to try to determine which one to work with in this round. Two weeks ago, she chose Furlough Kitchen because she felt those who were newly on leave from the restaurant and hospitality industry needed the most help, as they didn’t may not yet know what government programs are available to them or still have access to them.
“I’m a pragmatist and I want to put King Arthur’s money where it would do the most good, and you don’t have a lot of time to assess in detail,” she said. “The hardest part for me is figuring out where the need is. There were 2,000 cars lined up the other day at the North Texas Food Bank [food distribution at Fair Park]. Or maybe I need to do something with the schools and school meals. I will see with DISD. Maybe it’s a throwback to what we used to do.
Because there is so much food insecurity right now, it’s not an easy choice. “It’s not so much the need,” she says, “but it’s about trying to help people who might fall through the cracks. “