AUSTIN (KXAN) — On the front lawn of a south Austin home sits a “community bake stand” with fresh-baked homemade bread, and it’s completely free.
Amateur baker Kevin Jean is in it for the dough.
He simply wants to bake and feed the hungry during the coronavirus outbreak — a time where most of us are confined to our houses and are finding it hard to shop for staple foods. Jean ran into the latter problem.
“With everything that happened, I was at the store and I was looking for bread,” Jean said. “We were going to have hot dogs and there wasn’t any bread that was left on the shelves. You can go to any store and I mean everyone else, I guess, is seeing the same thing — that there isn’t anything available.”
A problem that reignited his pre-pandemic passion. He came home and thought, “let me just start” baking bread. After a few recipes, he found one he liked and started producing.
“Then I realized other people didn’t have bread either,” Jean said. That understanding made him decide to give away bread to his neighborhood, inspired by someone miles away in another state.
“There’s a woman that I follow on Instagram who did the same thing in Florida … She’s a professional baker,” Jean said. “She put a rack outside that was just full of all of her different bread from her shop for her neighborhood.”
Jean first put out his bread stand March 23, and it was received well. Thursday morning, he brought another round to a few anxious hands already waiting.
He plans to give bread away every Monday and Thursday. However, he has already hit a few hurdles to keep up with his hobby and demand.
“At first, I was what thought was ‘fully stocked’ to bake bread. There’s a shortage of flour, there’s a shortage of sugar, there’s a shortage of yeast on about a daily basis. I go to most of the stores in the neighborhood all around looking for yeast, etc. There are also limits on what you can buy now too, so I can buy two bags of flour from here and I might have to wait an extra day to buy more. And it takes more than two bags of flour for me to bake everything that’s here.”
Random strangers then came to his rescue after he put a call out for ingredients.
“Had a great response from people telling me where I can pick it up, or people were lending it to me. One guy even taped it to his door outside, so I could drive by and get the packets of yeast from him. And then somebody else, kind enough, drove all the way from the Mueller area and dropped off a few packets for me as well,” Jean said.
“It just shows that there are people out there that are willing to give,” Jean said. “I’m just doing it just to try to give back.”
While Jean doesn’t expect any money, he set up the stand as a pay-it-forward type, and is accepting donations. You can either send monetary donations to his Venmo account (@bakedcrumb) or Zelle account (firstname.lastname@example.org), or you can donate the ever-elusive ingredients he needs like yeast, flour or sugar.
If you are looking to catch the next batch of bread, he invites everyone to shoot him a message on Instagram. Any leftover bread is donated to the homeless.