Archive for October, 2011

Sweet Supermarkets, Sodexo and… SURPRISE bakery

On our first trip two weeks ago, we had lots of luck getting donations from the smaller, local bakeries in Poughkeepsie. This week was the opposite. On Wednesday we went back into the community, again seeking donations for our bake sale. The small-name bakeries we approached (The Pastry Garden, Sugar & Spice Cafe, to name a few) told us that they had already exceeded their donation quota for the year.

This required a change of our game-plan. We decided to ask chain grocery stores for their help. While we didn’t get exactly what we expected, we got what we needed regardless. Price Chopper in Poughkeepsie could not give us baked goods, but were able to provide us with a $10 giftcard that will allow us to buy essentials for our bake sale, like plates, trays and napkins.

Price Chopper, we appreciate your donation! Photo courtesy of

We had a similar experience with Stop & Shop in Hyde Park. We spoke with the store manager, and he was very enthusiastic about our project. He said he hated to see food go to waste, but nowadays there are so many legal concerns that companies would rather throw away food than face a potential lawsuit.

He told us that he would see if there was any wiggle room in the matter and that he would get back to us with an answer.  We left that day and got a call from him that very night! It was so great to have someone call US for a change… usually we are the ones tracking people down! The manager ended up telling us that Stop & Shop could not donate food to our bake sale, but they could provide us with a $25 gift card.

Thanks again, Stop & Shop! Photo courtesy of

We were really excited and put the gift card to use right away, buying more essentials like baking tins and frosting.

We also had some major help from Sodexo. Instead of asking for a donation of baked goods, we decided to ask Sodexo for their large containers of coffee and hot chocolate. This way, we will have one of each at all four of our selling locations. Sodexo has really come through for us, answering our questions so quickly and efficiently… they have really helped make this such a smooth process!

Sodexo cares! Photo courtesy of

And of course I’m saving the best news for last. You know that amazing local diner that is basically its own branch of the Marist campus? You know, the one that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives? The one whose menu brings us to tears because it so extensive? The one where your table is silent the second the food is brought out because everyone is too busy feasting to make conversation? And now, the one that will be donating to OUR BAKE SALE?

Yeah, that’s right. We got it. We got the EVEREADY. Brace yourselves, Marist. If we hadn’t already given you enough indication, now you have it. It is going to be one sweet bake sale.

Another reason why we LOVE the Eveready Diner! Photo courtesy of


Help From An Old Friend

We’ve got another celeb on our side. This red-haired personality loves to sing (no, it’s not Reba), loves to joke around (no, it’s not Conan) and loves to have fun with friends (no, it’s not Prince Harry). What sets this one apart from the rest? For starters, he’s a monster.

Elmo has been gracing our TV sets for over 30 years. This is who we grew up with. He taught us about personal hygiene and fire safety, and now he has a new mission. Elmo is concerned about childhood hunger. He wants you to be aware of this problem within the United States and to lend a hand or furry paw, whichever the case may be.

Elmo! Photo courtesy of

Watch the video below to see how Elmo and Sesame Street plan to tackle this problem.

Along with the rest of the Sesame Street crew, Elmo’s Hunger Awareness campaign is helped by the husband-wife duo, country singer Brad Paisley and actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley.

Sesame Street created a character just for this TV special. Her name is Lily, a new Muppet whose family sometimes has trouble affording the food they need.

Sesame Street's newest Muppet. Photo courtesy of

Why did Sesame Street want to get involved? “What’s still missing is that we’re not seeing the face of hunger up close,” says Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Street’s Senior Vice President for Outreach and Educational Practices.

The special was aired in typical Sesame Street fashion. Information about food drives, vegetable gardens and volunteering were presented in a simple manner. There was ” fun dialogue and upbeat tunes, thanks to country singer Brad Paisley. And Sesame Street staffers make it happen with their usual childlike energy.”

The message was clear. Lend a hand. Seek out ways you can give back to your community. They make it sound so easy. But a lot of the time, it’s not. Life gets in the way. You have a group project due, or roommate drama, or a paper to write, (or more often than not, all three at the same time).

That’s why we are asking for ONLY an hour of your time. That’s right, ONE hour. If you can spend an hour baking something for our Nov. 2 bake sale or give us an hour of your time to work the tables that day we would greatly appreciate it!  Email us at and join Elmo, Lily and the rest of the Muppets in the fight against childhood hunger!

Shaking Hands, Making Deals

Today, the mighty trio trekked out into the world, determined to complete the task at hand. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but we brought with us our greatest resources: passion, enthusiasm, and three bright smiles.

What was this mission, you ask? We ventured into Poughkeepsie and Hyde Park, seeking bakeries who would donate to our bake sale.

We drafted a proposal letter using a template on the GABS site. We explained our cause and listed the most important information of all: the date of our bake sale. (In case you forgot already, it’s Wednesday, November 2nd).

Here’s an overview of our bakery crawl. All of the places we visited today are definitely worth a visit in person. But our bake sale will give a good idea of what to expect from each!

Babycakes Cafe:

Located right across the street from Vassar College, Babycakes is frequented by college students and locals alike. There are so many menu options…each one had our mouth’s watering. Unfortunately, the manager was not in that morning, so we left our letter with the cashier. We will definitely be calling to confirm because Babycakes would make a tasty addition to our bake sale!

Caffe Aurora:

The next stop took us through downtown Poughkeepsie to a pleasant bakery, decorated with antiques. There was lots of seating and we all agreed it would make a great spot for hitting the books. While the cashier prepared coffee for a customer, we were content to gaze at the beautiful desserts filling the glass display cases. Cakes, pastries, biscotti… this place had it all. And the prices seemed reasonable to boot!  The manager came out to talk with us and was so friendly. He was enthusiastic about the bake sale, and we were excited to have our first local bakery on board.

Outside Caffe Aurora. Photo courtesy of the Poughkeepsie Journal.

La Deliziosa Italian Pastry Shop:

This adorable bakery was only a stone’s throw away from Caffe Aurora. The second we walked in the door, we were greeted by the smell of biscotti, a smell that flooded Lina and Lindsey with memories from their time studying abroad in Florence. There were so many different kinds of authentic Italian biscotti and cookies… we want to go back and try them all! The woman behind the counter agreed immediately. La Deliziosa will provide our bake sale with a large tray of cookies, customized with red, white and blue ribbons.

A sampling of La Deliziosa's cookies and pastries. Photo courtesy of La Deliziosa.


This place requires a little bit of a trek, about 10 minutes down Rt. 9. This was another cafe that just had such a great ambience. Cool-looking tables and chairs, comfy couches, friendly staff, and most importantly, a great menu! So many types of coffee to choose from, baked goods, sandwiches…this might be the perfect place to escape the craziness of finals week or, dare we say it, your capping project! Still waiting to hear back on this one too, the manager wasn’t in, but we trust that the boys behind the counter will come through for us.


We are very excited to be working with Caffe Aurora and La Deliziosa. But we still have a lot of work to do. This week and the next we will continue to recruit local bakeries.

If you are interested in baking, working a table or promoting our event PLEASE e-mail us at We check it all the time and would LOVE to work with you!

Celebrity Endorsement!

For those of you closet foodies, you are probably familiar with Food Network’s Sandra Lee. As the host of Semi-Homemade, Lee creates delicious meals by combining fresh AND pre-packaged ingredients to make the cooking process easier and more accessible.

A lover of all things sweet, Lee is also a dedicated advocate of Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale. Here is a clip of her encouraging you to get involved in a local bake sale.

Only a few more weeks til our bake sale. Get inspired! Get baking!

Meet the Bakers

Here’s your chance to get to know the three lovely ladies behind the “Marist Bakes A DifferenceGreat American Bake Sale event.




The Basics

Hometown: Haskell, NJ

Major: PR

Minors: Business and Global Studies

Studied abroad in: Florence, Italy, Fall 2010

Career aspirations: I’d like to work in nonprofit public relations, either in private healthcare, like a hospital, or in large national charities that do fundraising, like Share Our Strength!

What You Really Want to Know

Chocolate or vanilla: Chocolate, dark.

Dessert you are known for: My red velvet cupcakes are famous at Marist, but at home my mom and I are famous for our cheesecake.

Guilty pleasure: Nutella. Having the jar in front of me is dangerous!

Most underrated baking ingredient: Salt. Adding a pinch to an 1/8th teaspoon of salt brings out the sweetness in dessert!

Food idol: Ina Garten. Although she’s received a lot of negative press lately, her Food Network show and cookbooks are simple, yet absolutely perfect.

5 things to have when stranded on a “dessert” island: Dark chocolate, lemon meringue pie, whipped cream, crème brulee and kettle corn popcorn.

Dessert you fell in love with in Italy: Affogato. In Italian, it means “drowned,” and traditionally the dessert is a scoop of gelato drowned in espresso. I had it at this famous gelateria where the gelato was submerged in thick, Italian hot chocolate. So amazing!

Affogato. Photo courtesy of




The Basics

Hometown: Cromwell, CT

Majors: PR and Advertsing

Minors: Psychology and Global Studies

Studied abroad in: Florence, Italy, Fall 2010

Career aspirations: To be happy. Stop with this future talk! I’d like to work for a non-profit organization in public relations and special event coordination. (Or to be a weather girl.)

What You Really Want to Know

Chocolate or vanilla:  CHOCOLATE

Dessert you are known for:  Christmas fudge

Guilty pleasure: Soft-serve

Most underrated baking ingredient: Oatmeal or graham crackers

Food idol- My mom and Grandma Sacco

5 things stranded on a “dessert” island: Ice cream sundaes, anything with a crumb topping, granola clusters, cookie dough & dark chocolate.

Dessert you fell in love with in Italy- Gelato. Any flavor. Also, their thick hot chocolate- cioccolato caldo!

Gelateria Grom -- The Marist abroad student's Florence-equivalent to Mecca... at least according to us three! Photo courtesy of




The Basics

Hometown: Hopkinton, MA

Majors: Journalism and Spanish

Studied abroad in: Madrid, Spain, Academic Year 2010/11

Career aspirations: To be the editor of a bilingual magazine!

What You Really Want to Know

Chocolate or vanilla: Chocolate chocolate chocolate chocolate chocolate chocolate CHOCOLATE!

Dessert you are known for: In high school I found this amazing recipe for Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cake. I am drooling just thinking about it.

Guilty pleasure: Brownies, the more gooey, the better. Seriously, do not leave me alone with a plate of those. Ever.

Most underrated baking ingredient: It’s safe to say I am obsessed with walnuts. My housemates and my poor parents can definitely attest to that. (Sorry, Mom.)  A close second would be coconut. And when the two are combined with chocolate… heavenly!

Food idol: Whatever cookbook or food blog happens to be open at the time. The kitchen is like my playground. I think I get that enthusiasm from my parents, especially my Dad.

5 things stranded on a “dessert” island: Walnut brownies, ice cream, cookie dough, red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and blueberry pie.

Dessert you fell in love with in Spain: Don’t get me wrong, churros and hot chocolate are great. But you haven’t experienced a true Spanish dessert until you’ve had porras and hot chocolate. To the untrained eye, porras are just a bigger, fatter version of churros. And I agree, they are bigger and fatter. But they are also more delicious. The dough is so much more.. dough-ier, which just enhances the whole experience.

Churros vs. Porras. The churros are so tiny compared to the porras! Photo courtesy of

Does all this talk about desserts and baked goods make you feel hungry? Hungry to make a difference, that is.

We’d love your help at our bake sale on Nov. 2. Email us at to sign up to bring a baked good, to work one of our tables for an hour, or… BOTH! For such a great cause, we need all the help we can get!

The Waiting Game

It’s been a painful couple of weeks. We feel like we haven’t been too productive. College Activities is true to its reputation as taking a long time responding back to student e-mails.

But on the bright, sprinkled cupcake side of life…

Campus Ministry has agreed to team up with us for our bake sale! We have an official date for our event. Our bake sale will take place on Weds. Nov 2. We will selling enough baked goods to satisfy any sweet tooth, from about 11-5.

We’ve also got a few selling locations. We are going to target the academic buildings for the adult workers. We got some great advice from Campus Ministry’s Brother Frank about avoiding the Champagnat breezeway. What freshman carries cash on them these days? We certainly didn’t when we were freshmen, and we really appreciated this advice.

So, instead of putting all of our eggs in the Champ breezeway basket, we will only be selling there for an hour or two, 11-1, during which is when the Run/Walk for Hunger will be taking place. Selling in the breezeway during this time will allow us to take advantage of the masses of people, young and old, students and otherwise, who gather to participate in the walk.

Crowds of students, faculty and community members gather outside the Champagnat breezeway tor Campus Ministry's 2010 Run/Walk for Hunger. Photo courtesy of

We are also waiting to hear back from College Activities about our other proposed selling locations. We want to sell cupcakes in Donnelly by the main entrance, in the green between Dyson and Lowell Thomas and by the underpass.

Once we get these confirmations, our capping project will really take off. Pretty soon it will be time to recruit volunteer bakers from Marist and the community. Even though we’re playing the waiting game, we really have accomplished so much in a short amount of time. Time for a celebratory slice of apple pie!