Haiti Bakesale Benefit Update

by Sarah Henry on January 25, 2010 · 18 comments

in baking,food events,food security

Kudos to Samin Nosrat and her crew for raising $22,421.09 at a bakesale for Haiti in the Bay Area last Saturday.

An outpouring of cupcakes and cash came from professional chefs and home cooks in events held at three community-minded food venues: Pizzaiolo in Oakland, Gioia Pizzeria in North Berkeley, and Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco’s Mission District.

On offer: Sweet treats from current and former chefs of local eateries, including Chez Panisse, Pizzaiolo, Dopo, Oliveto, Lalime’s, Cafe Fanny, Bar Jules, Bacar, and Boot & Shoe Service. Their cakes and cookies got snapped up by folks eager to find a way to help Haitian relief efforts in the aftermath of the recent devastating earthquake.

My son and I stopped by Pizzaiolo.

We said hello to familiar faces, met Samin, and did a little sugar shopping for a good cause.

We chose these saffron cardamom beauties by anand confections. Divine.

Also Ici chocolate chip meringues, Tartine Bakery shortbread, and Bakesale Betty cookies.

And (we shared, honestly) brownies with mint-chocolate chips of unknown origin, and vanilla bean creme brulee baked by Kafe Kevo. Allegedly all good, not that I tasted everything, just reporting back, you understand.

In a quick phone chat today, Samin, who had just picked up a check for Partners in Health, a nonprofit medical aid organization long active in Haiti, expressed gratitude for folks’ contributions, both big and small. She made mention of chef-owner Charlie Hallowell at Pizzaiolo, who kicked in $5,000, which included donated tips from restaurant staff. Samin’s Anusara yoga teacher, John Friend, contributed another $5,000.

Buddy Jennie Schacht mobilized a bunch of Bay Area pastry chefs through the group The Bakers Dozen, and cookbook author Romney (Nani) Steele added her trademark granola to the mix.

At the amateur end, the girls JV Soccer Team at Sacred Heart Preparatory School in San Francisco made dozens of cookies, rice crispies, brownies, and cupcakes “all beautifully wrapped,” Samin says, “with lovely little notes that read: ‘made with love.’”

Samin is not new to cooking or fundraising bakesales. She’s held similar events outside Eccolo, a favorite Berkeley restaurant (now closed) where she worked, and netted about $2,000 to help victims of both Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Asia. “I thought they were pretty good takings for a morning’s work,” she says,  “but I’ve been overwhelmed with the display of generosity for the people of Haiti.”

And for Samin, linking fundraising to food is key. “It’s my experience that people really want to help but a lot of people are stuck. They literally don’t know what to do or how to take action,” Samin explains.

“What better way to bring people together than food?  It’s such a natural community builder.”

Do you know of other similar edible fundraisers to help Haiti? Please share your stories below.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle (What's Cooking) January 26, 2010 at 10:46 am

I am putting together a virtual bake sale – it should go live later this afternoon. I’ll show photos of mouth-watering desserts and people will be encouraged to buy a virtual slice! I”ll update with a link soon…


Sarah Henry January 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm

What a creative idea, Michelle. Congrats for getting this up and running.

Check out these delicious virtual desserts, donated by the likes of
Cheryl @5Second Rule, Pim @Chez Pim, and Jen @My Kitchen Addiction and make a real, live donation to help Haiti:


No mess, no guilt, no need to run a mile to work it off!


Nani Steele January 27, 2010 at 7:37 am

Hi Sarah

Thanks for sharing about last week’s bakesale; sorry we missed you-but truly there was so much love and good energy around Pizzaiolo, that day, let alone all those divine desserts.

Samin is a wonder and it was a joy to participate in the small way that I did–bringing my bags of “granola” as you mentioned. In fact, I just posted the recipe for it on my site with a link to a second bakesale by Chez Pim in the Santa Cruz area, this Sunday. Some of your readers might want to know.




kevo January 28, 2010 at 12:39 am

I hope you enjoyed the creme brulee. Thanks for the edit and shout out!


Sarah Henry January 28, 2010 at 7:33 am

Hi Kevo, Your creme brulee was dreamy, and my son and I consider ourselves creme brulee afficionados. So two thumbs up in our house!

As for the revised shout out: Ah, the beauty of blogging is the quick fix…no worries;)


Alexandra January 28, 2010 at 10:30 am

When I read about events like this one, it makes me wish Cape Cod had some of the same energy and top-notch foodies necessary for a mega bake sale of this calibre to succeed. Wow! $22,000. Kudos to the organizers!


Sarah Henry January 31, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I know, Alexandra, that’s a pretty impressive sum for cupcakes and such, isn’t it?

Of course, this being the Bay Area, there were lots of gorgeous, high end sweet treats as well.


Sheryl January 28, 2010 at 11:52 am

What a fabulous thing to do – and what a wonderful sum of money to raise!


Ruth Pennebaker January 28, 2010 at 1:17 pm

“A little sugar shopping for a good cause”? What a wonderfully sweet idea.


Jennifer Margulis January 28, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Wonderful and inspiring. Good job Sarah! I’m impressed and moved by all this hard work.


Susan January 28, 2010 at 4:02 pm

What a great idea! It sounds delicious.


MyKidsEatSquid January 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I wish I lived closer to the Bay Area–a combination of pastries and a good cause. Fabulous idea.


marthaandme January 29, 2010 at 4:54 am

Wonderful idea! Kudos to all who participated.


Stephanie - Wasabimon January 29, 2010 at 11:53 pm

I was so so sad to miss this, but I didn’t hear about it until I ran into Nani in Menlo Park. She mentioned it and I wish I’d known ahead of time!


Sarah Henry January 31, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Hey Stephanie,

Maybe we could post these kinds of events on the Bay Area Food Group e-chain? I know I appreciate seeing upcoming food happenings there.

Now I just have to remember to follow through when something floats across my desk!


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