Local organizers Hayley Putnam, Ingrid Chen-McCarthy and Stephanie Adams (left to right in photo, credit to Carrie Lilly) talk about Bake Without Borders, a bake sale and benefit event that takes place on Aug. 31 from 5 to 10 p.m. at Gibbs Hundred Brewing. The organizers hope to raise $10,000 for Siembra NC, a local immigrant activist organization as well as Al Otro Lado, a legal services organization that serves indigent deportees, migrants, and refugees in Tijuana, Mexico. The event includes a bake sale, silent auction, live music by Latinx artists Sofar Sounds, a dance party DJ-ed by Durham’s Mamis and the Papis and more. The event is free to attend but organizers are asking for a suggested donation of $20, all of which will go to the organizations.
How did this event get started?
H: I had been talking about doing this about a year ago, about how to help keep families together. I love baking and my first thought was I can have a bake sale, but I never got serious about it, but this year I put something out on my Instastories and people were really responsive. Ingrid’s husband Jeff connected me with her, and we met the very next day and talked about ideas back and forth. And Stephanie reached out pretty quickly too. So things got moving pretty quickly.
Why do you think this event important?
I: When we all got together, we basically realized that we’re all moms and have small children. The stories that were coming out about small children being taken away from their parents were unfathomable. It’s hard for us to be on the sidelines and feeling like there’s nothing we can do. You want to be more involved and more active. I wanted to know: What can I do to help our Latinx and immigrant community in the Triad? I’m a first-generation immigrant so for me, it’s a really personal thing. My husband is a baker and I’ve been in the restaurant industry for 20 years. The bake sale is great, but it’s evolved into this bigger event.
H: We initially were debating, because we wanted all the money to go to what’s happening on the border, but we felt like, Why don’t we look at our own community here too? This is happening here too. So we don’t feel so disconnected from what’s happening at the border.
I: The whole idea is that we want people to come out and donate and buy the baked goods but ultimately, it’s about uplifting the voices of the Latinx community here. The reality here is that a lot of people here don’t quite understand immigrant rights. It seems really divisive, but at the core of it is a really humanitarian issue. The shocking thing, and motivating in some ways, is that it seems to be getting worse as we’ve been planning this event. The urgency is growing. Until these families are taken out of these concentration camps we’re not going away.
“Until these families are taken out of these concentration camps we’re not going away.”
S: There are a lot of organizations that are doing really great work in our community that are informing immigrant rights within Greensboro. One thing that people really need to understand is that funding they receive is becoming less and less available because of everything that’s happening so it’s really important that we raise funds for organizations like Siembra so they can continue to do the work.
Do you have any plans to do future events like this?
I: All of us feel like we don’t want this to be the last thing. Planning this event has quite honestly been like a full-time job for all of us but has been so invigorating and it feels amazing that we’re organizing something and making a difference.
S: Coming from the nonprofit world, I know how great it is when the community says, ‘I will put on a fundraiser for you,’ because they need their time to do the work so it feels good that we are taking that on for them. I think that this issue, seeing families split apart, seeing people treated so poorly has been so disgusting. It can feel so lonely but being able to work on this and see all of the support and seeing people ready to help and ready to give allows you to feel not so lonely, to see the power in numbers to work against what’s happening in our country right now.
What advice do you have for other people that want to help with this issue?
H: If you have an idea like I did, even if you think it’s silly and petty and won’t make a difference, put it out in the universe anyways. This is actually happening now, and it really feels incredible. If anybody has a seed of an idea to help, even if you’re feeling like it won’t make a difference, it will.
S: If you really want to do something, get to know the organizations in your area that are doing something. Siembra NC has a solidarity meeting and they have something for everyone.
I: If you have an idea, even if it seems outlandish, you don’t know who can help. People want to help. People will have all kinds of skillsets that they can bring to the table.