Monday: SWIM 10 min WU, 4x50 drill, 4x 50k, 4x 50 d, 10 min CD
PT: Single leg strengthening & core work
Still on the diet reset this week…day 1 of veggie chili.
Over the last couple weeks, the leadership team at Montclair Bread Co. has been discussing ways we can help government employees affected by the shutdown. On Monday morning, we decided to give free coffee and a sandwich or loaf of bread to anyone who needed it. By Monday evening, the response from the community, supporting our initiative, was incredible, however, I wondered if we would be able to reach enough people.
I was sitting at home texting with Jessie & Jessica from the bakery. I didn’t want anyone to think our offer was simply a means to get Montclair Bread Company in the press. I wanted to do more and I felt helpless. Then I asked Jessie how we could deliver doughnuts to the TSA at Newark Airport. While she scoured the internet for contact info, I posted a message on Facebook asking for anyone with any connections to help.
In less than an hour, I was emailing the office of the Executive Director of Port Authority and telling him my plan…a coffee break for the TSA. I would make coffee and doughnuts for all the workers and deliver them to the airport. Then, I waited.
In the news…
Tuesday, January 15th: RUN 50 minutes easy
Day 2 of Chili for dinner
On Tuesday morning, I became so consumed putting out a figurative fire on the home front, I didn’t notice when the call from Port Authority never came. I didn’t notice the alert from my calendar letting me know I was supposed to be on a conference call with a group of the most amazing lady bakers in the country…the planning committee for a baking conference later this year. I spent most of the day in a really dark place, feeling like I failed.
In the news…
Wednesday, January 16th: SWIM: 2100 total 4x400 1,3 S; 2,4 P
BIKE: 1:00 total with 3x10:00 at 75% See below for the replacement activity!
Day 3 of Chili for dinner
I glanced at my phone when I got back to the locker room from the pool at the Y. There was a message from the Port Authority. My head was back in the game. I rushed back to the bakery office and returned the call. Aidan told me there are 2000 employees across the three airports in the system. I explained what I wanted to provide. He told me he would put in a call to the Federal Director of Security at the TSA (funny enough, his contact also came through Facebook!). Less than an hour later, Scott from the TSA called. He is the Transportation Security Manager. He explained that there are 2 shifts in terminals A&B and 3 shifts in terminal C. He gave me the head counts for each. Their peak hours are 5am-9am during which times, no one is able to take a break. We decided a delivery just after 9am would feed shifts 1 & 2 at each terminal and I would provide a box of cookies for the 3rd shift staff.
Then he asked “is tomorrow too soon?”
We don’t take any orders with less than 48 hours notice. It takes that much time to get the ingredients together, production plans in place, staff scheduled… I told Scott tomorrow would be just fine. It was already afternoon and I just pledged to feed over 500 TSA employees the next morning. I couldn’t put the burden on my baking team. On a Thursday, we have a small team. There was no way they could handle increased production. Then I remembered the quality testing we did leading up to our races. I knew if I packaged the doughnuts properly, I could make them late in the evening and they would stay fresh for the morning delivery. I still needed help. It’s impossible to keep up with the yeast as it starts to rise, without an extra set of hands.
At 3:30pm, the kids got off the school bus. I was at home waiting for them. We sat in a circle on the floor and I explained the government shutdown the best I could. Mac said “Momma, I don’t get it. If the president isn’t doing his job, why don’t they just fire him.” I don’t get it either Mac.
I convinced the kids to help me make the doughnuts for the workers. We started mixing dough at 4pm. This is not their first time helping out but it is the first time I’ve been completely dependent on them. Josie and Keegan cracked eggs, weighed ingredients, cut butter and dumped everything into the mixer. We made 50 pounds of doughnut dough.
After the dough was mixed and it had time to rest, the kids rolled it out into long sheets. We took turns cutting the sheets into strips and the strips into squares. These would puff up in the fryer like little doughnut balls or nuggets as we started calling them (anything but a munchkin). Brad took pictures of the process and we set up a time lapse camera for a little extra fun.
Josie said “you know, everyone thinks I’m lucky to be your daughter because of the bakery but they just don’t understand how hard it is always setting up for another event.”
Once the frying started, the kids took the hot doughnut nuggets and tossed them in a bowl of glaze and sprinkles before boxing them up. Josie labeled each box with the appropriate terminal and shift. Once we were finished, five hours later, the bakery was coated in rainbow sprinkles. Keegan said “this is what happens when you have kids doing your work for you.”
In the news…
The Daily Meal (alongside Chef José Andrés)
Thursday, January 17th: RUN 50 easy
Finally, no more chili!!! Baked trout and veggies for dinner.
The bakery staff started brewing coffee into the giant insulated containers we use for races at 5:30am. It needed to be drained into to-go boxes at the last minute, so it would be hot when it arrived at the airport. Milk crates were packed with cups, sugars, stirs and dairy. Everything was separated by shift and by terminal. I got the kids off to school, then I packed up the car with doughnuts and coffee. Brad was my co-pilot. He had contact numbers for supervisors at each terminal.
We left the bakery just before 9am and pulled into Terminal A twenty minutes later. Jennifer and her team met us at the departure gate where they loaded a cart with all the goodies to take back to her staff. We repeated the process at Terminal B with Jesus and Terminal C with Allison.
On Monday, I was sitting at home watching ‘Breaking News’ cycles and feeling helpless. This morning, I was able to offer a very small token of my appreciation for the people who are working without pay to keep us safe. I received hugs, handshakes and lots of smiles. It was an incredible experience all the way around, from baking with my kids to circling the airport terminals with a car full of doughnuts. I decided I wasn’t going to stop with one delivery. As I posted Brad’s pictures on social media, I committed to a weekly doughnut delivery until the workers get paid!
Contrary to what some may believe, this was not a publicity stunt. This was a contribution in the only way I know how to contribute. Making 2500 doughnut nuggets and 12 gallons of coffee isn’t easy especially when it’s hastily thrown into the schedule. It is my hope that seeing my story will encourage others will follow suit and show a greater audience that there is strength in community.
When we returned from the airport there was a call from Senator Menedez’s office. They wanted to know if we would be willing to host the senator and eight NJ residents who are furloughed or working without pay, as part of a round table discussion. I said yes, not having any idea what I just committed to.
In the news…
Friday, January 18th: SWIM 10 min WU, 4x50 drill, 4x 50k, 4x 50 d, 10 min CD . . I just couldn’t fit it in :-(
Rice bowls with grilled pork loin and roasted veggies for dinner (still not chili!!!)
The kids woke to see their pictures on all the local news sites. They were so excited and so happy they were able to take part. They were eager to share the news with their teachers. I was so proud of them.
At 9am, the camera crews started claiming their space in front of the bakery, ABC 7 and Fox 5 were the first on the scene. At 10am people from the Senator’s office arrived to help me set up the bakery. We moved tables, racks and stools to create as much space as possible. The whole baking team was squished in the back working around a single table. Everyone had to prepare themselves to not have access to the fridge or freezer for two hours. By 11am, the bakery was so full of news cameras, I couldn’t walk through the space. I was interviewed so many times, I forgot who I said what to. “Spell your name. What did you do? Why did you do it?”
Furloughed families started arriving at 11:30am. We made sandwiches and hot coffee for everyone. Their stories were remarkable. The Coast Guard moms told me how their sons aren’t getting paid, can’t afford to buy diapers for their children but will be Court Marshaled if they don’t report for duty. There was an older couple who both work for the IRS. They were furloughed during what is typically one of their busiest times of year. If they open their computers to try to catch up on the work they’re missing, to make their jobs easier when they are recalled, they will be fired. Finally, I spoke to two prison guards from Fort Dix. They have been spending their days calling soup kitchens and food pantries so their staff can be fed as everyone’s savings have run out. I told them I would bring them all lunch and bread to take home one day next week.
The Senator arrived at noon. He spoke to the reporters about his agenda in the Senate, what everyone is doing to help and then he listened as the family’s told their stories. The whole time, I couldn’t stop pondering what else I could do to help.
By the end of the day, I had been interviewed by 4 newspapers, 3 radio stations and 8 news stations. My Dad called to tell me he saw me and my bakery on his local station in DC!
Once all was said and done, I came home and watched a firestorm on the Montclair Bread Company instagram feed as people expressed their discontent with my decision to welcome Senator Menedez. To this I will say, Democrat, Republican, scandal or no scandal, he is our elected official. He is our voice on the Senate floor. If the man wants to come and listen to the people he represents, I will open my doors. Period.
Saturday: RUN 25:00 easy, 20:00 10s faster, 10:00 20s faster, 5:00 HM pace, 10:00 easy. I actually hit HM pace!!!
Roasted chicken, sweet potatoes and broccoli for dinner.
As an excellent end cap to this crazy week Stephanie, a local pilot, called to tell me she wanted to take doughnuts to the air traffic controllers at Essex County Airport. They are currently working without getting paid and she can’t do her job if they aren’t there to support her. She offered to give my kids a tour of the control room which they happily took her up on. We boxed up doughnuts and headed to the airport.
The kids had a blast! They got to watch through binoculars as the planes took off and landed. We saw the radar screens with all the tiny blips representing planes in the air. The could have stayed all day. The staff told me not only are they not getting paid but they’re all working overtime. If they refuse, they will lose their jobs. They got paychecks this week that read $0.00.
Before we left the airport, we got a tour of the helicopter hanger. The kids were allowed to sit in the helicopters and check out all the instruments on the dashboards. It was the best day ever!!!
The kids are already looking forward to our family doughnut production next week.
In the news…