More than five years ago, a productive night of trick-or-treating led one family to start a weekly tradition of service that snowballed into something that has blessed and continues to bless hundreds of people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas.
“It all started with a bag of Halloween candy,” Kory Booher, the project’s original organizer, told the local news source for the Church of Jesus Christ in North Texas. “I couldn’t bear to watch my daughter eat a whole bag of candy, so she and I negotiated a deal, and I bought the candy from her. I meant to throw it away, but as I walked to my trash can, I thought, ‘I can’t just throw away perfectly good food, even if it is junk food!’” Kory called a local shelter who was more than happy to take the candy off her hands. This started a weekly tradition for the Boohers, who began visiting the shelter every Sunday and served food to families or visited with the residents there.
Later, Kory’s husband Brent met a baker from Central Market in Southlake, Texas, who told him that charities would pick up their unsold baked goods every night but they couldn’t find anyone willing to pick up Saturday’s leftovers. All of their unsold bread from Saturday’s baking—thousands of dollars’ worth—was just getting thrown in the dumpsters.
For the Boohers, this new service opportunity was too convenient not to take advantage of. Brent began showing up at Central Market on Sundays at 5:00 a.m., filling his truck to the brim with around $3,000 of unsold baked goods or “shrink bread,” including pies, cakes, and cookies. Later that day, he and his family would take the truckload to local shelters, homeless missions, and facilities for veterans. When the Boohers couldn’t do the pickup, other friends and local Latter-day Saints would take it instead.
One thing led to another, and soon their Sunday morning pickups became Sunday and Tuesday morning pickups. Then when COVID-19 hit, charities that had previously been picking up the “shrink bread” on other days of the week were unable to continue. Hundreds of people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were unemployed and going hungry, and all those baked goods were getting tossed out. At the invitation of Central Market, the twice-a-week pickups quickly became daily, and more volunteers were enlisted.
“We engaged the help of friends and others to pick up the bread and deliver—it was our daily jigsaw puzzle!” Kory shared. “There were so many little miracles: families that didn’t have a birthday cake for their kids had cakes magically appear on that day. People who needed specialty bread for Easter suddenly had just what they needed. God’s hand-led our scrappy group of volunteers to deliver truckloads of baked goods every day.”
Today, the group is known as “The Bread Brigade,” and now delivers to community centers, major food pantries, refugee assistance groups, senior living centers, medical facilities, and other local organizations that assist the underprivileged, homeless, and impoverished.
Since the project started, it has been estimated that well over $2 million in baked goods have been distributed to people in need in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and there is no sign of that slowing down any time soon. Even now, one of 17 families can still be found every night at Central Market Southlake just before closing time, bagging and loading up bread to be delivered.
Read the full story of the Boohers and the other families on “The Bread Brigade” here.