Bake Me Home was established in 2008 by then 7-year-old twin sisters, Amy and Emma Bushman, with help from their mom Alison. Bake Me Home grew from their desire to do something more for the homeless family shelter where they had volunteered together for 3 years. Their volunteer work began with collecting items for the shelter at the twins’ birthday party each year. Once the items were gathered, they delivered them to the shelter and prepared a homemade pancake breakfast for the families. While they always enjoyed working together in the kitchen, it saddened them to see the shelter children standing in the doorway watching (for safety reasons, the shelter children were never allowed to enter the kitchen). For Alison especially, this kitchen threshold heartbreakingly represented another line between the life her children were living, and the lives of the kids struggling with homelessness.
As the girls grew older, they decided that a simple jar of cookie mix for families leaving the shelter could give those children the experience of baking with their mom that they loved to do so much, and Bake Me Home was born. What an opportunity to help these families cross that threshold of their new home with a joyous experience together! After lots of hard work (and taste testing!) Alison, Amy and Emma perfected their original Bake Me Home Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe for their jar, and added all the necessary baking supplies (bowl, pan, spoon, spatula, pot holder), including a Kroger gift card for butter and eggs (and a few other grocery items) to a tote bag for families in crisis.
Bake Me Home has been blessed to receive support from thousands of generous volunteers who share their passion for making the world a better place, one cookie at a time! After 8 years the organization has grown to include 4 programs that serve people from 18 agencies in Hamilton, Clermont, Butler and Warren counties, and troops serving overseas. In addition to the primary Tote Bag Program, Bake Me Home offers a Picture Me Home, Bake Me BACK Home Program, and Bake It Forward Program.
This growth also necessitated the need for more space! In February 2013, Bake Me Home moved into a new building in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. The office portion of the renovations were completed with an incredible volunteer team! In the summer of 2013, thanks to funding from more than 120 donors and grants from The Spaulding Foundation and Magnified Giving, the pros completed construction of a kitchen with commercial appliances. This 450-square foot space is suitable for hosting volunteer groups, filling hundreds of jars of cookie mix and baking thousands of cookies!
Bake Me Home’s success is owed to the tremendous dedication of their volunteer “staff” and the Cincinnati community that continues to fill every volunteer need year after year!