Rick and Debbie Sands, general managers of Great Harvest Bread Co. are expanding to Ouanaminthe, Haiti with the help of several local businesses.
The couple decided to donate an entire bakery and a year's worth of supplies to make nutritious wheat bread to the impoverished city.
Rick talked to his contact at ConAgra Foods, who agreed to sell him high quality flour at a discounted price for the village.
“We’re now able to offer the other village bakeries white flour with a high nutritional value — 12 to 15 percent protein — at a lower cost than what they were paying for the other flour. We’ll also work with them to bake the bread properly so they don’t lose the nutritional value.”
With the cost of the project at about $150,000 for equipment and supplies, Rick knows he can’t do this alone. It takes a village to build a bakery in a third world country.
The 1,000-square-foot bakery will need to stay cool in the hot climate, where temperatures easily reach 100 degrees during the day.
Rick contacted his friend John at Brandon Heating and Air Conditioning in Stow who knew exactly what he needed: an islander unit, one that doesn’t require duct work. Within a week, John purchased one and is donating it to the project.
Rick’s contact at Reed Oven Company, a commercial-grade oven supplier, readily agreed to build a new 200-loaf oven at cost for $20,000, a purchase that would otherwise be $39,000. The oven needs to be built to the correct specifications, using propane gas instead of natural since Haiti does not produce natural gas.
When Rick talked to his manager at Great Harvest Bread Co. about his goal to feed the hungry in Haiti, the franchise company decided to donate a $12,000 hammer mill, used to pulverize the wheat berries so the flour drops through a screen to be used for the bread.
“A hammer mill instead of a stone mill is crucial,” said Rick. “Because of the heat and humidity in that climate, a stone mill would expand and the stones would rub against each other. It wouldn’t last.”
But what will last is a bakery for the residents in Haiti to use for a long time.