For Goodness Bake Raises Awareness in the Sweetest of Ways

Pop-up sale benefits Beacon’s Green Teens Program

By Alison Rooney

If a recipe includes equal parts sweetness and helpfulness, resulting in something wholly positive, it must be deemed successful. These ingredients are mixed together at For Goodness Bake (FGB), a once-a-year bake sale featuring edibles donated by some of the best bakers around, all in aid of a worthy local cause, this year’s being Beacon’s Green Teen Community Gardening Program. Spearheaded by Beaconites Kristen Cronin and Tara Tornello, this year’s edition will serve up its offerings on Saturday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Catalyst Gallery, 137 Main St., in Beacon.

As FGB’s Facebook page described the not-so-typical event: “Some of the Hudson Valley’s most celebrated amateur and professional bakers and confectioners are donating their time and talents to this bake sale. A wide array of sweet and savory baked treats, confections, and vegan, gluten-­free, and sugar­-free items will be available.”

A display of sweets at 2014’s For Goodness Bake sale in Beacon (file photo)
A display of sweets at 2014’s For Goodness Bake sale in Beacon (file photo)

Raising both funds and awareness for each year’s designated cause is part and parcel of this pop-up, pop-over event, now in its third incarnation. It began in 2013, as a response to the diagnosis of a rare liver condition in a mutual friend’s 6-month-old son, for which he had a successful transplant. “We were drumming up possible ideas, something to draw the community in and bring awareness to the disease and to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, an organization connected with it,” Tornello recalled. What occurred, then called simply “Bake Sale for Baby Felix,” raised $1,500 for the group and engaged over 50 local bakers, businesses and volunteers in the effort.

As the bake sale was successful, there seemed no good reason not to remount it a year later, and in May 2014, newly dubbed For Goodness Bake, it gained the support of over 100 bakers and other volunteers and doubled the funds raised to over $3,000, this time donated to Kids R Kids, a Beacon-based, volunteer-run program that works to reduce childhood hunger by providing nourishing, healthy lunches to children in need throughout the summer months, when school-based free-and-reduced-lunch programs are closed.

The connection between local nutrition-based organizations and FBG is entirely intentional, as it is of great concern to the organizers. “Kristen and I share a common concern about food insecurity, farming and just food issues in our community,” Tornello explained. “We got together to brainstorm a recipient for this year, and really, it was a no-brainer, choosing Green Teens … Green Teens has increased its work engaging teens and offering food to those who are food insecure. They’re at a critical point, gaining momentum.”

In fact, the bake sale is directly across from one of the Green Teens’ gardens (located on the grassy hill adjacent to the Tito Santana Taqueria restaurant), and there will be a few teens helping out at the gallery as well as conducting garden tours and leading hands-on gardening activities for younger children. Helanna Bratman, Green Teens’ program coordinator, will also be at the sale for the majority of the day, talking to customers about the program. An exhibit of photographs of the work the Green Teens are doing will be on display at Catalyst Gallery during the sale.

Kristen Cronin, left, and Tara Tornello, at the For Goodness Bake sale held May 2014 in Beacon (file photo)
Kristen Cronin, left, and Tara Tornello, at the For Goodness Bake sale held May 2014 in Beacon (file photo)

According to the Green Teen website, the Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County program “empowers urban youth to be effective community change-agents by immersing them in the local food system.” Teens work in a vegetable garden and then sell the fruits of their labor via a mobile market, offering affordable fresh food to parts of the community that do not readily have access to healthy, locally grown produce, especially senior centers, public housing and health centers. Each year, a photography exhibit displays their experiences.

As in earlier years, FGB has been wholeheartedly supported by the Beacon community, and non-baked-goods assistance has come in the form of brand new laser-cut signage from Fabhaus; tablecloths from the Roundhouse; handmade fabric bunting banners from Blackbird Attic Boutique; window floral arrangements from Diana Mae Flowers; window display/design from Margaux Lange; and supplies, design services, fliers, decor and more from Homespun Foods, Beth Poague, Liz Birch, P&P Printing (in New Windsor) and the UPS Store (in Fishkill), just to name a few.

An outside sign at a previous For Goodness Bake sale (Image courtesy of For Goodness Bake)
An outside sign at a previous For Goodness Bake sale (Image courtesy of For Goodness Bake)

As for the edible donations: Most offer “interesting flavors, many with fresh fruit and spices,” according to Tornello. A small sampling includes pistachio brown butter doughnuts from the Darling Kitchen (Tornello’s own baking business); assorted gluten-free goodies from Ella’s Bellas; bacon bourbon chocolate-chip cookies from Barb’s Butchery; sun-dried tomato and goat cheese turnovers from Stacie Merrill; vegan and gluten-free Rice Krispies Treats from Kara Dean-Assael; brownies from Judith Filc; banana bread mini loaves from Clarice Allee; and breads from Beacon Bread, with plenty more to come.

The bake sale is cash only, and every bit of that cash will go directly to Green Teen. If you would like to donate your baked goods — from madeleines to macarons, basically any sweet, handmade (no mixes, please) edibles for the fundraiser are still welcomed. As the organizers explained (having run out the first year, not realizing the capacity of the Beacon sweet tooth): “Once the last doughnut, cookie, or muffin has been sold, FGB closes up shop, hands over 100 percent of the proceeds to the beneficiary, and vanishes. Like superheroes, but with aprons instead of tights.”

To coordinate your donation, email FGB at [email protected] or call 845-243-3855. For more information, visit their website, forgoodnessbake.org, and the Facebook page. For more information about the Green Teens, visit greenteen.org.