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Sugar House Journal

Generosity and kindness thrive during tough times

Nov 17, 2020 13h34 ● By Erin Dixon

Steve and Lucy Borg have given away 90,000 loaves of French bread since March to anyone who walks into Schmidt’s Pastry Cottage. (Photo courtesy Schmidt’s Pastry Cottage)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

Small glimmers of kindness illuminate dark times. 

Around the United States, zoos offer free viewing from their animal cams, celebrities read children’s stories for a cause, and children’s book authors offer drawing lessons for house-bound families.

Closer to home, generosity gets personal. 

With locations in Sugar House, South Jordan and Taylorsville, Schmidt’s Pastry Cottage began offering free loaves of bread after Gov. Gary Herbert quarantined the state. Since then they have baked and donated 90,000 loaves.

Owner Steve Borg said, “It’s been a lot of work but it’s opened up our hearts. We’ve had a lot of generous people volunteer, donate here and there. We have a flour company donate some flour and so it keeps going.”

All school districts and charters in Utah have been given permission by the USDA Family and Nutrition Service to waive lunch fees for all students, whether they qualify for reduced or free lunch normally. 

“This is welcome news for the communities we serve,” Canyons School District’s Nutrition Services Director Sebasthian Varas said. “We have families who may not qualify for free or reduced-price lunch but have been financially hurt by the pandemic. This will hopefully bring them some peace of mind and take at least one worry off their shoulders.”

A West Jordan employee donated $15,000 from his own salary back into the city budget to support other employees who have offered exceptional service during the pandemic. 

“I feel strongly that we need to make sure we are telling our employees thank you for these kinds of actions and reinforcing their kindness and extra efforts. To that end, I asked the Mayor to transfer $15,000 to the employee recognition line item [in the 2020-2021 city budget],” said Korban Lee, West Jordan chief administrative officer (CAO).  

Such examples of kindness included a West Jordan police officer who organized and purchased a small birthday celebration with his own money for a young girl involved in a recent crime. 

“After a recent horrific tragedy...the mother mentioned in passing that a 7-year-old in the family was having a birthday in a couple of days. Our patrol officer quietly took note. This officer teamed up with one of our support staff and a detective to organize a surprise birthday party (from 6 feet away) for the little girl. They delivered gifts, pizza and a visit from a K9 officer with no fanfare and without telling the Chief or their supervisor,” Lee said.

Hispanic Star is a branch of the organization We Are All Human that seeks to support all Hispanics across the country. Edgar Carreon, Utah hub leader for Hispanic Star, described the organization’s efforts. 

“The purpose of the Hispanic Star is to create a platform that highlights and share stories of contributions Hispanics make to society. It is also a platform for Hispanics of all backgrounds to come together to bring about positive acts of kindness in our community,” Carreon said.

After receiving almost 200,000 personal care items (soaps, hair products, feminine hygiene products, laundry detergent) Hispanic Star sent out a call to anyone in the area who needed basic supplies. They organized five locations in the Salt Lake valley to distribute 2,000 kits during the summer.

Telemundo, Univision and radio stations broadcasted the events, inviting anyone who had been adversely impacted by the pandemic to come get kits full of necessities. All the supplies were gone within an hour.

Not long after the death of George Floyd and the surge of protests calling for defunding of police departments, the Midvale precinct of Unified Police received fortification rather than opposition. Boxes of doughnuts, stacks of cookies and bouquets of flowers arrived at their office.

Precinct Chief Randy Thomas said, “We’ve never had so many doughnuts delivered in my entire life. I can’t eat another doughnut.”