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Wonder Bread

Massachusetts mom Karen Kiefer started baking bread for those in need of cheer. Now, Spread the Bread is on the rise.

Author Jonathan Vatner Photography David Cicconi


FABULOUS BAKER GIRLS Kiefer with daughters, from left, Madison, 13; McKenna, 14; and Rose, 8. Emma, 11, was at camp.

NAME • KAREN KIEFER, 49

MISSION • Delivering happiness to strangers via homemade bread. When Karen Kiefer taught her mother’s Irish soda bread recipe to her daughters, they baked way more than they could eat, so they handed out the surplus loaves to neighbors. It was so much fun, they did it again this time packaging loaves with friendly messages and delivering them to homeless shelters and churches in their hometown of Wayland, Massachusetts. Soon, other families broke out their bread pans, and Spread the Bread was born. The Kiefers’ driveway now serves as a collection and distribution point for vast varieties of baked goods, and Kiefer coordinates efforts elsewhere in the world via email. Recipients include the homeless, first responders, the elderly, soldiers abroad and anyone else in need of a little gratitude or hope.

MOTIVATION • “Everybody is connected to bread somehow—through religion or a memory or a family tradition. I thought it would be cool if we could get people to start sharing that bread with others.”

FAVORITE RECIPE • “One of my favorites is cantaloupe bread. It tastes just like a wildly delicious and moist carrot cake.”

GET INVOLVED • The third annual Million Bread Bake, an effort to surpass one million loaves, started on September 11 and runs until New Year’s Day. Last year, the effort tallied a whopping 733,203 loaves. Kiefer’s driveway must be huge.

Visit spreadthebread.org to download a starter kit.

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