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11 Year Old Boy Makes Homemade Bread to Raise Funds for Pittsburgh Food Bank

Making a “Dough Nation” for the Food Bank

When 11-year-old Noah Hertzman bakes his delicious, healthy loaves of homemade bread, he raises more than the dough. This ingenious and generous sixth grader sells the bread and donates his profits – the other kind of dough – to the Food Bank.

Noah, who serves on the Student Council, plays French horn and cello and hopes to try out for his school’s cross-country team next year, is also raising awareness of the problem of childhood hunger and food insecurity. “I raise money for the Food Bank but I also want people to learn about hunger, which can have a big impact on kids,” he explains. “Kids who aren’t getting enough to eat can’t learn. If you can’t learn, your whole future is affected. There are kids at my school on food stamps and I heard that some members of Congress wanted to cut food stamps. I wanted to do something about it.”

That desire evolved into “Dough Nation,” Noah’s bread baking project, which is serving as his Bar Mitzvah project. Dough Nation began in late summer last year, with cinnamon wheat swirl bread. Noah’s loaves now come in many additional varieties: honey wheat, raisin bran, English muffin, challah, herbed wheat, garlic basil and sweet breads like zucchini, banana and pumpkin. He also starting making pepperoni bread and gluten-free bread at the request of some existing customers. Noah asks for a donation of $5 per loaf, and $8 for the gluten-free bread, but says that some people give him more. His teachers and classmates love his bread, and his mother’s co-workers are regular buyers. “My mom always goes to work with a great big bag of bread,” he laughs. His goal is to generate $1000 for the Food Bank, not including matching funds from the Intermec Foundation (his father works for an Intermec subsidiary).

In November, Noah was able to visit and tour the Food Bank facility, when he and his family dropped off loaves of bread there. His parents are understandably proud of him and support Dough Nation in every way they can. “Noah has always been a compassionate kid,” says Monica, who works for RAND Corporation as a web producer. “He cares deeply about this issue and wants to make it more visible.”

With three bread machines lined up in the kitchen, this young dynamo just keeps on baking and talking to others about taking action to help neighbors in need. Noah plans to continue until March 2015, when he becomes Bar Mitzvah.

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