By Betty Freeman For the South Whidbey Record
LANGLEY — At 11 p.m., when most people are asleep, Kelly Baugh is grinding fresh red wheat and starting a large batch of bread.
Baugh bakes her bread at Living Green Bakery &Cafe on Second Street in Langley.
On Sunday and Wednesday nights, she makes 40 to 50 loaves of whole wheat bread for Whidbey Island Nourishes‚ commonly known as WIN, a program that has been providing nutritious food for families in need since 2007.
Though others have now discovered her bread and bakery, Baugh said, “What I do for WIN comes from my heart.”
“WIN is my first priority.”
WIN sends home family-sized bags of food with qualified elementary school children on Thursdays to tide them over for the weekend. The lunches contain meat and cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole wheat bread, yogurt, fresh fruit, mixed vegetables, string cheese and trail mix. If there are younger children in a home, WIN provides food for them as well.
For teens and others with food insecurity, WIN offers complete lunches at Good Cheer Food Bank in Bayview, and a la carte items in coin-less vending machines at South Whidbey Commons in Langley and Clinton Community Hall.
WIN also provides lunches for the Family Resource Center, and nutritious snacks for the HUB, Homework Club, Whidbey Island Academy and the South Whidbey Children’s Center in Langley.
WIN food is prepared by volunteers who work three days a week in the kitchen of the former South Whidbey Primary School.
During 2013, WIN volunteers made 20,000 sandwiches, up from 16,000 during 2012.
During a WIN fundraiser in 2013, Baugh’s whole wheat bread was served with bowls of hearty soup.
WIN board member Jerry Stiers thought the bread was wonderful, so he approached Baugh about providing bread for WIN.
“WIN has long had a goal of using locally sourced ingredients in its bread,” said Stiers. “We have been buying bread from Costco, but wanted bread with no preservatives or added sugar.
“Kelly Baugh offered to supply us bread at cost, which makes it affordable for WIN.”
Baugh’s whole wheat loaves contain just five ingredients: freshly ground red wheat flour, honey, salt, water and yeast. Baugh gets wheat from Coupeville farmer Georgina Silby and honey from Morningstar Honey Farms in Oak Harbor.
WIN’s mission to provide nutritious food for children resonates with Baugh because she had to learn to find her own food from an early age.
“If I had the kind of community support like WIN offers, it would have changed my whole life for the better, Baugh said.
“All kids need is one person to help them believe in themselves. Not having to worry about food every day gives kids hope that they can do better.”
Baugh, a native of Chicago, says she started working in the food service industry 30 years ago at age 11, making pizza dough in an Italian restaurant. She has lived on Whidbey Island for 11 months.
As the new owner of Living Green in Langley, she transformed the space into a cafe-bakery and gathering place for adults and children, including her own five children, son-in-law and two grandchildren.
“South Whidbey has become a place for my family to belong,” said Baugh.
Betty Freeman is a WIN volunteer and a contributing writer for The South Whidbey Record.