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Breadmaking classes help feed New Brunswick community, build friendships

On a bright Monday morning, a small group of volunteers gathered in Greener Village’s kitchen in Fredericton. They each wore an apron, and their hands were busy — mixing ingredients, kneading dough and forming loaves.

The volunteers were part a breadmaking class put on by Greener Village.

“This is a teaching class that then in turn helps out the community,” Yves Dechaine, Greener Village’s kitchen manager, said.

The result of each session is more than 100 warm loaves of bread. But volunteers don’t get a taste of their labour — all the bread is put into the food hampers that Greener Village hands out.

Anita Maceachern attended the class for the first time after hearing about it on Facebook.

“It’s a nice way to help the neighbours, your friends, as well as learn how to make bread,” she said.

The class marked the first time she’s made bread.

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“I’m terrified. I might mess it up, but there’s some really great ladies here directing us and showing us how to do it, so I feel a lot more comfortable,” she said.

Friendships built

In addition to bread, the classes are creating something else important — community.

Amy Chanard starting attending the program when it began in January 2023.

“I didn’t know anybody other than Yves when I started and now I’m great friends with quite a few of them,” she said.

As a child, she said she was raised to help out when someone needs it, so for her this is a way to serve her community.

As inflation keeps rising and the cost of living goes up, that help counts.

Rising cost of living

“We’ve seen a couple of really hard years in the fight against food insecurity,” Alex Boyd, Greener Village’s CEO, said.

Greener Village’s demand nearly doubled between 2021 and 2021. As grocery bills grow, the bread making program is one of the ways the charity keeps control over its food resources.

The program has been expanding — what started as one class is now two on Mondays plus a Tuesday evening class once a month. Dechaine said that’s due to interest from volunteers, and he wants it to keep growing.

“I’d love to see a loaf of bread, a loaf of Greener Village bread, in every single hamper that we hand out,” he said.

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