It all started with a cinnamon roll.
In 2013, Glenda Moore, executive director of Kind House Ukraine Bakery went on a trip to Ukraine after a suggestion from her daughter. Her experience there, working with locals in an orphanage, left a lasting impact on her and she returned to the United States looking for ways to help.
“I came home and I told my mom ‘I want to help. I want to help these people, I don’t know what to do but I want to help,’ and she said, ‘You’re going to learn how to bake,’” Moore said. “I was that kid that ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when my mom made these fabulous meals so I was not a baker at all, but my mom said, ‘You’re going to learn how to bake. I’m going to teach you how to make grandmother’s cinnamon rolls.’ So, I would go over to her house at like, 4 a.m. and we’d start baking, and then pretty soon she started coming to my house at 4 a.m., and then she stopped coming over, and yeah. It all started from a cinnamon roll.”
By 2015, Moore started bringing in volunteers to help. As funds and interest increased over the next few years, it became clear that Moore’s operation was outgrowing her home kitchen. In 2018, the Kind House Ukraine Bakery was officially founded as a non-profit organization, and in 2022, their brick-and-mortar storefront opened at 4715 S. Western.
“It’s crazy to think that all of this started from people putting flour, sugar, butter, eggs, all kinds of ingredients on my porch and just joining me in this effort,” said Moore.
In addition to donations of ingredients, Kind House also receives donations of goods to sell: art and photography from local artists, KHUB t-shirts and cups, hand-crafted items and more are all available for purchase at the bakery. Everything, including the baked goods, are unpriced, meaning that patrons donate what they want, and all of those funds go to help humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
“When we started in 2013, we were mainly helping orphans that were graduating out of the system and getting them settled into universities,” Moore said. “In 2014, Crimea was annexed and so that really created an effort to help people along the front lines of war in that Donbas area.”
Moore explained that Ukrainians have a deep connection to their land, which is usually passed down through multiple generations, and they often have limited financial resources beyond that land which makes functioning in a different part of Ukraine or Europe difficult. Additionally, making the choice to relocate when they’ve never left their village can be very daunting, so many choose to remain where they are despite challenging conditions and need help and supplies.
“Every year that we’ve been in business, we’ve doubled. Last year before the invasion, we provided coal for 118 homes,” Moore said. “This past year we were able to provide over 2,000 rescues for people who wanted to leave those areas, and we had the funds not just to rescue them out of that area but to get them settled in refugee housing.”
Kind House Ukraine Bakery opens at 6 a.m. Wednesday - Saturday, but for the volunteers and staff, the day begins much earlier.
“We get here at 5 a.m., we’re working with all of our cinnamon rolls and we’re trying to get everything rolled out and get ready for opening at 6 a.m., we’re looking at the case and we’re filling everything in and just making sure everything looks good. We’re filling the bread, so anything that was baked the day before, it might still be in the back, so we’re pulling it to the front and just making everything presentable,” Moore said. “Our volunteers start showing up at 6 a.m.”
With the growth of the bakery has come an increase in volunteers and people who want to be involved. They now have around 30 active volunteers in the bakery and 80 volunteers total, including people who help with IT, contractors, dishwashers, bakers, and more.
“This is not ‘Glenda’s Bakery,’ this is Kind House Ukraine Bakery and we have a huge community backing it, so this is the Kind House community,” Moore said. “I’m super grateful for our community, I’m super grateful for everyone who has decided to become a part of this, and for other nonprofits too that are helping Ukraine.”
Moore explained that while many people think the war in Ukraine is getting better, that isn’t the case.
“People ask me all the time, ‘so, the war is better now right?’ and the war is not better. It’s still very harsh, and there are a lot of harrowing things going on,” Moore said. “So for these brave people to keep going, and just keep doing their very best, why won’t we bake? You know? Why not? We might as well be here doing something useful.”