We are all familiar with the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. I have a new one for you. “When you grow up on a wheat farm, make bread”. The other morning I had the privilege of joining Hollie Schaub, the founder of our local gem, Fed by Bread, in her commercial kitchen as she was doing her thang: baking.
While I count Hollie a friend, I realized on my way to her kitchen that I had never asked her how she started running a non-profit baking company. My new saying probably gave it away: Hollie grew up on a wheat farm in Oklahoma. Baking is something she’s grown up around her entire life. Both her grandmother and mother were avid bakers and as we all know, it’s hard to grow up around something your entire life and not have it leave an imprint on you.
Fast forward many years and Hollie found herself in Corpus Christi as the wife of a young pilot, pregnant with her first child. She had recently completed a masters degree in Intercultural Studies so she had a world view of life with a desire to affect change and idle hands. Hollie is a woman of faith so as she was seeking her next step in life she felt called very strongly to begin baking and donating the profits to needy organizations.
And that is exactly what she did and has now been doing for almost 10 years. Once a week Hollie and a loyal group of revolving volunteers rise before the sun in Corpus Christi, Texas to bake for children around the world. While the recipients of their profits changed in the early years, they have had a partnership with Africa New Life Ministries for the past 4 years. From their profits (anywhere between $12,000 and $24,000 depending on the year) Fed By Bread sponsors three children and any remaining funds are directed towards a school lunch program in the town of Kageyo in the African country of Rwanda.
As I said earlier, when Hollie started she was pregnant with her first child. Today she has four children under her roof, the two youngest under 3. While her love of baking will never go away, this December will mark a transitional time. Starting in January, Fed By Bread will only be baking granola in order to allow Hollie more time at home with her family. It states in Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun…..a time to break down and a time to build”. While I wouldn’t categorize their shift as breaking down, they will be slowing down. You will still be able to locally buy their yummy granola at Jewels and Wildfowers as well as sign up for granola subscriptions via their website but for now the days of homemade cookies, bread and cinnamon roles are numbered so you better stock up now!
Hollie will be the first to tell you she has no idea what the future holds. She may expand her bakery again as her little ones get older and she has not ruled out special baking-days for specific occasions. This we can be certain about, though: Fed by Bread has been and will continue to be an example of how we all in South Texas can use our individual skills and knowledge to be force for change without even leaving our town. Hollie knew how to bake and she was willing to do so and in turn we have all enjoyed her homemade goods, all the while also helping vulnerable children half way around the world. Bake on, sister. South Texas kneads you.