Vedika Jawa’s mission to sweeten the lives of those in need began when she was just 13, on a family trip to San Francisco. She could not help but see the multitudes living on the streets.
She returned home to Fremont, California, determined to help. Reaching out to homeless shelters, she offered to bake sweet treats.
Some managers ignored her; others told her to come back when she was older.
Jawa organized a neighborhood bake sale, collected ingredients in her school and contacted a shelter’s CEO, who eventually allowed her to bake for residents.
That was the start of Bake4Sake, her student-run non-profit that distributes desserts to those in need.
The project eventually expanded from a handful of friends who helped her bake in her hometown to more than 100 volunteers who now work with 15 homeless shelters in 10 locations across the United States.
“Even though these people get access to meals from food banks and shelters, they often don’t have access to desserts,” said Jawa, now a 16-year-old high school junior.
“We know that they’re going through a really difficult time at this moment. And so we just want to add a little bit of joy in their lives and show them that they’re cared for and loved.”
At the onset of the pandemic, her work could have been brought to a halt. Some shelters could no longer take the baked goods due to coronavirus regulations.
But she didn’t let it stop her.
Through the local food bank South Hayward Parish, she eventually was allowed to deliver the desserts. She also created an Instagram Bake4Sake account, hoping to find more volunteers.
“Instead of just getting responses from my classmates, I actually started getting responses from high schoolers in different states, in different cities,” she said.
Now, she hopes that even more people will be encouraged to join her project and open their own chapters of Bake4Sake.
“We think that a simple act of kindness can go a long way for someone who is facing such a difficult time,” Jawa said.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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