Rising to the Challenge

Who We Are

How We Started

In 2005, Cambridge Bread Rescue started with one person collecting bread from a single bakery several times a week. Over seven years, he was able to collect and deliver more than 14,000 loaves of fresh bread and more than 1,000 bags full of sweet and savory artisan baked goods – thanks to the cooperation of the staff and management at Hi-Rise Baking Co. and Sofra Bakery.

Since the summer of 2012, a dozen volunteers have joined the effort to rescue this food. They have more than doubled – and lately tripled – the amount of rescued bread that would otherwise be thrown out. They deliver to a shelter that serves women who are victims of domestic abuse. To a shelter that serves men and women ravaged by alcoholism. To a shelter run by the Salvation Army that serves men who are down and out. To a shelter run entirely by Harvard students, who prepare sandwiches nightly for anyone in need.

What We Do

The laws of supply and demand are broken when it comes to getting excess groceries, produce and perishable food into the hands of those who need it.

Thankfully, food banks and rescue programs have sprung up across the country to solve the problem.

Solving Excess Supply and Demand

On the supply side, independent bakeries present a special challenge to food collection programs. Most bakeries cannot hold onto their unsold goods; they need to donate them the same night or toss them out. [One local bakery donates some of their bread to a farm for animal feed]. The shelters and pantries that feed thousands of people across the city largely depend on food donations to meet rising demand for their services. Without a delivery mechanism, they serve bread and baked goods that are less-than-fresh, or of inferior quality. Meanwhile thousands of great loaves and baked goods get discarded needlessly every year.

Our volunteers stop by these bakeries to pick up perfectly fresh and unsold items and deliver them to shelters the same night, and pantries the next day.

These items sell for a premium. They are made fresh every day and use the best available ingredients. It’s tragic to see them tossed out with other garbage when they could feed folks and their families.

Urban Gleaning

This is urban gleaning: The city version of rescuing produce from farmers’ fields and orchards after the harvest, and delivering it to those in need.

More than a quarter of all the food produced each year in this country is lost at the retail, consumer, and food service levels. We throw away about 263 million pounds of food a day… every single day! And much of that is just surplus food. It is perfectly edible.

Are we going to solve world hunger? No.

Are we going to help out a few people who have the misfortune to fall on hard times? You bet.

Let Them Eat Cake

Marie Antoinette famously said “Let them eat cake,” referring to the poor of Paris – unable to afford even the most meager bread. We couldn’t agree more with Marie A. Let them eat cake… and fresh bread… and savory tarts… from the best bakeries in Cambridge.

Our Vision

Now we want to replicate our model to enlist more bakeries and volunteers in more communities to reach more recipients; to turn discarded food into sustenance.

With your help – direct or indirect – we can add more bakeries, more pick-ups, more pantries, even more cities.

This is a micro-organization. There is no overhead, no office expense, no fund drives.
Anything you contribute goes directly 100% to purchasing equipment or paying for upkeep of vehicles, to keep the wheels of Cambridge Bread Rescue turning.

How You Can Help

Every organization, even tiny ones like ours, need funds to grow. In our case, we don’t use funds “to keep the doors open.” We have no office, no paid staff, no electricity bills or fundraisers to compensate. But we need wheels – auto and bicycle trailer – to get bread and baked goods from here to there. Equipment costs money to purchase, run and maintain. If you’d like to contribute – even $1 – we promise to put all of it to good use.

Other [non-$] Ways to Help

Care to volunteer?

Even ONE or two pick-ups and deliveries per month makes a huge difference.

1. You need a car or a bike trailer

2. Weeknights Pickup: [1.Huron & Concord Ave; 2.and/or Mass. Ave between Porter and Harvard Square] & Delivery [winter: Harvard and Central Square. Rest of the year: Central Square only]

3. Saturday late afternoons Pickup: [1.Huron & Concord Ave; 2.and/or Mass. Ave between Porter and Harvard Square] & Delivery [Central Square]

4. Sunday early afternoons Pickup: near Fresh Pond Shopping Center (behind Trader Joe’s)] & Delivery [Central Square]

ZipCar member – or know someone who is?

Are you a ZipCar member, or perhaps you know someone who is? Help us pitch a partnership to ZipCar. Please send your contact info and we’ll notify you when we get ready to ask ZipCar to support our work. As we gain traction, we’re hoping that ZipCar will partner with us to provide wheels for people who want to volunteer but don’t own a car. We believe our innovative Bread on Wheels concept fits well with ZipCar’s just-in-time approach to driving. But nothing speaks louder than success and the voice of your customers.


Want to volunteer? Are you a ZipCar member, or know someone who is? Need info? Have questions?
lgoodwin180 at …yahoo.com

Our Partners


Albany Street Shelter
Heading Home Shelter
Salvation Army
Harvard Square Homeless Shelter
Food Pantry, Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee


Hi-Rise Bread Co.
Sofra Bakery
Iggy’s Bread of the World
Keltic Krust, Newton


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