Friday, February 05, 2010

The NYC Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti - One amazing day.

Was it the bake sale to end all bake sales? Possibly. (Though from what I've been hearing, these Vegan Bake Sales for Haiti have just been one rocking event after another.) At the crack of 10:45 am, a team of dedicated vegans arrived at the doors of Moo Shoes, the beloved vegan shoe store on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Immediately we sprung to action: cupcakes here! Raffle table there! You, grab that chalk and hit the sidewalk! And by 11:30 the store was a sight to behold - delights from wall to wall for sweet toothers and shoe lovers alike.

Throughout the day, more bakers and volunteers appeared; the number of people who showed up to help, eat, and party was pretty astonishing. For the first few hours, and then for several other stints during the day, it was a bit hard to walk through the store for the crowd! Any direction I looked, all I saw was happy people holding bakery boxes filled up with homemade vegan treats.

The day flew by, one giant blur of a cocktail-esque cookie dance party. I got to sample many extraordinary goodies, including homemade green tea red bean buns, pesto pinwheels, double dark chocolate truffles, buckeyes, mini tomato muffins, pizzelles, danishes!, twinkies!!, and probably a few other delicacies that I've forgotten in my post-bake-sale-sugar-crash delirium.

That list doesn't even compare, though, to what I missed out on: I don't even know how many kinds of gorgeous cupcakes including fauxstess!! and my own chocolate orange with princess frosting and maple with black walnut frosting - nope, never got to try my own cupcakes! - adorable heart-shaped peanut butter and jelly cookies, many other kinds of delectable truffles, oatmeal pies, pretzels, scones, fudge, rocky road brownies, chocolate dipped fresh and dried fruits, splendidly adorned sugar cookies, cheesecake... I think I have to stop thinking about it or I'll cry. Why, oh why, didn't I bring one hundred dollars and ten tupperware containers? Learn from my mistakes people. Let's just say this: if ever a bakery carried the array of vegan deliciousness that was displayed at the NYC bake sale, none of us would ever leave that bakery again. So when you go to the Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti in your area, stock up!

The whole day through, our tables of baked goods were a feast for the senses. We had a continual supply coming from the back with which we restocked the tables, and we just kept selling through! Not to mention the raffle table - at times we got so busy back there I could barely keep up; at one point there were three of us taking tickets, and it needed all three of us just to hold it down. And no wonder: local businesses and crafters were very generous in donating some truly awesome prizes.

And all of that leads to the really fabulous part - the point of the whole shebang. By the end of the day, we had raised nearly $46oo to donate to Doctors Without Borders, to support their current work in Haiti! And with the last few baked goods left over being sold at places of work the following Monday, plus a few other contributions that trickled in, we've actually now reached $5k. We'd love to find a sponsor to match us, so that we can send a full $10,000 - if you have any ideas for that please leave a comment. But either way, I'd say not too shabby for a lil' ol' bake sale, now is it.

Sadly, little can be done to alleviate the grief caused by the loss of so many lives. But work can and should be done to help heal the sick and wounded and begin to rebuild. Therefore those of us in a position to offer assistance must focus on these immediate and pressing needs. The organizers of the NYC bake sale feel that Doctors Without Borders is doing important work that is making a real impact in Haiti right now, literally at this moment, and we're excited to be able to send them a donation that will give tangible support to that work. There are of course other very worthwhile groups on the ground in Haiti doing work very much worth supporting, including Partners in Health, WSPA, and Mercy Corps.

I continue to be moved and inspired by the wave of vegan bake sales across the country and, in fact, throughout the world. At last count, we have collectively raised something in the neighborhood of $35,000 to support Haiti relief efforts through various organizations. There's a common misconception that vegans care more for animals than for people; anyone who believes that, please consider yourself corrected. The point of true compassion is that we don't draw a species line! I am so proud of the vegan community, but more importantly I am so thrilled that we've been able to come together to do something that will actually make a difference for the Haitian people.

And it doesn't end here! The coming weekend brings vegan bake sales in D.C., New Orleans, Little Rock, Falls Church, and likely others. If there aren't any set up in your area, well why not go ahead and organize one! Or if baking isn't your thing, get creative - teach a yoga class for Haiti. Sell ice cream sundaes for Haiti. Organize a five mile walk for Haiti where participants ask friends and family for sponsorship. Put out a donation jar at your office or place of business. Have a plant sale. Finally have that yard sale you've been thinking about and donate the proceeds - get the whole block in on it and place a small ad in the newspaper so that you draw a crowd. Throw a party with a $5 cover charge! There are so many things you can do to help people get involved, and generate a sizable contribution in the process. And if you don't have the time, of course there's nothing wrong with a plain old donation. :)

Disclaimer: The really awesome photos (top pic of cupcakes, pic of twinkies, pic of fauxstess, pic of cinnamon rolls) and the pic of me (immediately above) were *not* taken by me! The rest were. You can see a whole set of photos from the NYC Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti on our Flickr Pool.


Lindsay (Happy Herbivore) said...

oh man! I live in nYC and am sooo bummed I missed this.

melissa bastian. said...

Hi Lindsay! I know the feeling of which you speak - I hate it when I miss cool stuff! You should hop on over to the PPK boards (the forums on Post Punk Kitchen) and hit The Square - it has changed my vegan social life in a big way. As in, now I have one! I love actually connecting with other vegans and knowing what events are happening. :D

vko said...

oh boo, I'm in NYC too and I missed it. I need to meetup with some more NYC vegans...hey maybe, a LIC/Astoria/Queens vegan meetup soon?