It takes a village to put on a bake sale, and the Aug. 5 charity fundraiser at the North Riverside Village Commons was no exception (“North Riverside teen cooks up recipe for giving,” News, July 31). 

When my daughter Jessi came to me in June with the idea of having a bake sale to benefit the charity No Kid Hungry, I jumped onboard immediately — it’s a great cause, and this looked like something fun we could do together. 

But the fact of the matter was that I didn’t have the slightest clue about running a bake sale. I am, after all, a middle-age man that spends most of my energy running and ducking to get out of such fiddly activities. Nonetheless, I’m now a Believer. 

To see the community jump in on this cause, spread the word, and participate so enthusiastically has changed me deeply. It’s given me a renewed sense of belonging to my neighborhood, and greater faith in the giving capacity of others. 

I expected maybe a half-dozen people to contribute baked goods. So imagine my surprise when I walked into the rec center kitchen that morning and saw about 15 batches of treats for the sale. And that was just the start. Over the next hour, another dozen plates of goodies rolled in.

After wrapping them and combining some into small lots, we ended up with approximately 250 wrapped packages of baked goods to sell — a spectacular level of participation, in my opinion.  

Then, the next question became whether we could sell it all in just four hours. I was already pondering who we could give the leftovers to. But there wasn’t any need for that. The entire 250-item spread was reduced to crumbs and empty trays in just a couple hours, well before the sale’s scheduled end time of 5 p.m.

Going into the sale, Jessi had set a goal of $250, which seemed ambitious but attainable. It turned out to be extremely modest. All totaled, we made that amount just from the sale of baked goods alone. There was also an additional $150 in donations that day. Topping both of these were online donations, which ended up going over $500 — largely because of the great publicity from the Landmark article featuring Jessi.

The final amount was over $900, to which my wife Heidi and I chipped in a little to bring the total to an even $1,000. According to No Kid Hungry, this is enough to significantly impact 10,000 families who desperately need meals for their children.

However you choose to measure it, the bake sale was a tremendous success. For that we offer our very heartfelt thank you to Teresa Mrozik and the North Riverside Parks and Rec staff, as well as everyone who made treats, bought baked goods, or donated. Without all of you, this could have never happened. 

People really can make a difference, even with something as simple as baking a batch of cookies. The bake sale proved that beyond a doubt. 

Thank you again to everyone who helped!

David Bellm

North Riverside