Since the launch of our STREAM for No Kid Hungry initiative in the spring of 2019, we have engaged a diverse army of influencers and celebrities in livestream fundraising across all social media channels. From art to gaming to music and more, our STREAM community has raised $4.8 million and counting for hungry kids.
Culinary influencers and content creators have supported this initiative from the start. This fall, members of this community will be supporting our second annual Bake-A-Thon, where you can tune in to learn their favorite baking recipes, tips, and techniques, and even be part of the show as they answer your questions in real time! They will teach you to bake delicious treats for your friends and family this Thanksgiving, while raising funds to help our nation's hungry kids. This event is free to attend, however, donations are strongly encouraged. Every $1 raised can provide up to 10 meals for kids in need.
No Kid Hungry sat down with our Bake-A-Thon featured bakers, Gemma Stafford, creator and host of the hit online show, Bigger Bolder Baking and long-time supporter, Chef Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery + Cafe to speak about this event.
Gemma, how did you first get involved with No Kid Hungry?
I first got involved with NKH back in 2017. I was testing recipes for my first cookbook, and I wanted to find the baked goods I created a good home and also raise money for charity while I did it. A friend told me about No Kid Hungry and the Bake Sale initiative and I just thought that was a perfect match. We added a partnership with a local Williams Sonoma store, and I even did an on-air appearance on KTLA 5 here in Los Angeles to promote it. I was thrilled that my desserts went to a good home; the event was one of the top Bake Sale fundraisers of the year, and we got to contribute to an amazing organization that helps feed children in need.
Joanne, how about you?
As a very new line cook I remember participating in the annual Taste of the Nation fundraiser where I first learned about Share Our Strength and eventually No Kid Hungry. The more I learned the more involved I wanted to be- the mission to end childhood hunger in America continues to be for me one of the most important goals we can focus on as a country. It is a solvable problem which becomes more and more apparent the more you learn about it.
Gemma, how did the idea of a Bake-A-Thon come about?
My husband, Kevin Kurtz, and I held onto an idea for years about creating an event during the holidays to help bakers as they prepare for their most important meals of the year. We took inspiration from Butterball Turkey’s old telephone hotline where anyone could get assistance with last minute meal prep and planning. We wanted to update this concept for the 21st century so we thought of a livestream interactive event focused on this goal.
Last Fall, Joanne Chang reached out on behalf of the No Kid Hungry campaign to enlist me to help spread the word to my fans (“Bold Bakers”), so Kevin and I pitched the idea and Joanne and the team loved it. In less than six weeks, we pulled off a great inaugural Bake-A-Thon last November featuring Joanne, Brian Hart Hoffman, myself, and others but we hoped it would only be the beginning. Now, one year later we have Duff Goldman as a host, a lineup featuring some of the top bakers in America and even major sponsors, like this year’s Wholesome and Nellie’s Free Range. We hope to make the Bake-A-Thon an annual tradition that assists home bakers and most importantly helps kids during a serious time of need.
Joanne, the Bake-A-Thon event has grown quite a bit since last year with Duff Goldman hosting, a lot of impressive baking talent and sponsors. What are you most excited about this year?
I am SO excited for all of the participating bakers demonstrating their stuff to all of us! We have an incredible cast of pastry chefs and bakers eager to share their specialties and help you have the best Thanksgiving ever.
Gemma, what’s the biggest Thanksgiving baking disaster and what would you tell our readers today if they had a similar experience?
Growing up in Ireland, I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving but I fell in love with the holiday ever since I came to the U.S. more than 10 years ago. It’s all about food, family, and friends which are all very important to me. One year I made an apple and cranberry pie for Thanksgiving. It sounded like a good idea at the time but I decided to get creative and cut leaves out of the pastry. It looked lovely but the filling never cooked because I cut out all those holes and the steam escaped. The result was a nice looking pie with raw apple and cranberries in the middle. My pro chef tip: keep it simple and don’t make extra work for yourself. Everyone will love it regardless.
Joanne, if you could give home bakers one piece of advice when they are baking, what would it be?
Get a kitchen scale, read the recipe through from start to finish before starting to make sure you have all of your ingredients and equipment, enjoy the baking process and HAVE FUN!!!
If you want to learn more from Gemma, Joanne, Duff and the other amazing bakers participating in the show, tune in to our No Kid Hungry Facebook channel on November 13th from 1-5pm ET and click here to RSVP.
Our 2021 Thanksgiving Bake-A-Thon for No Kid Hungry event is presented by Nellie’s Free Range and Wholesome. We are incredibly grateful for their support and making this event possible. To learn more about our sponsors, please visit nokidhungry.org/bakeathon.