I wanted to support health care workers and the elderly during COVID-19 times and was able to do so through my love of baking. With the help of my friends, I feel that the baked goods we made and delivered, and the snacks and coloring supplies we donated, made the staff and the residents at nursing homes and one local hospital’s ER feel supported. Through this project, I was able to give back to the community and those hit the hardest by the pandemic in a meaningful way, and provide an opportunity for my friends to do the same.

Jake Shapiro (Courtesy photo)

After falling through the endless rabbit hole that is “The Great British Bake Off” this past fall, I was struck with the idea that I could use baking to brighten the lives of those most impacted by the pandemic. I reached out to many of my friends who were home from college for winter break and they agreed to bake treats for my project. I then reached out to several nursing homes and hospitals across the Chicagoland area and asked if they would accept homemade baked goods for their staff; some were able to, but some were able to only accept store-bought donations. CJP and MIT Hillel provided funding to turn this all into a reality.

On two Fridays, I collected homemade baked goods that my friends made, baked some cookies myself and individually packaged the treats with some Oreos and Costco cookies into Ziploc bags. I then delivered these bags of treats to the Swedish Covenant Hospital’s ER staff, and the staff at a Jewish nursing home in Chicago. We wore masks and took appropriate safety precautions. In total, we collected more than 600 individual homemade treats and delivered them to more than 200 people. For the nursing homes that could only accept store-bought donations, I purchased and delivered snacks for the staff and coloring books and colored pencils for the residents.

(Courtesy photo)

This was an enjoyable experience and now I feel ready to come back to MIT for the spring semester!

Jake Shapiro, MIT ’24, is originally from the Chicago suburbs. He is a Phi Kappa Sigma member at school and a participant in CJP’s Intercampus Leadership Committee. He was also a finalist for the Sinai Scholars Symposium with a paper titled “The Jewish Nation: A Journey From Ancient Kingdoms Through Diaspora to Statehood.”

3 (1)
(Courtesy photo)