In May of 2023, 16-year-old Kaitlyn Randolph started Portland Bakes, an organization that bakes and donates cookies, tarts and more for guests and residents experiencing houselessness at Blanchet House and Farm. Kaitlyn was inspired by her eighth-grade math teacher, Ms. Swartz, who started a similar club while school was online. Now Kaitlyn is the one who coordinates with other high school students, picks up baked goods and delivers them to Blanchet House. Her group donates about 90 servings of treats a month to the shelter. “I love baking, so it’s really nice to be able to combine my interests with a social issue that I care about,” says Kaitlyn. “I also enjoy getting to spend time with my friends while doing it. I like to invite a few of my friends over to spend a morning baking and having fun. I also like knowing that our donations can give an actual person a little bit of happiness with their meal, and that we’re making that direct impact on someone who might need it.”
Kaitlyn, who is a junior at Sunset High School, hopes to major in political science and minor in international relations and environmental science when she goes to college. Once she graduates from high school, she plans to pass on Portland Bakes to a younger high schooler who will carry on the same mission. In the meantime, she’ll keep baking with friends to help others. “I hope to organize a group baking event in late December to bake and frost Christmas cookies, so we can hopefully make the most amount of cookies possible and create some extra holiday spirit at Blanchet House,” she says.