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Bread rises to feed the needy

New Guelph bakery’s waste not – want not philosophy is helping those in need to get their daily bread.
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Guelph’s new COBS Bread Clair Marketplace broke a national record on its opening day raising more than $6,500 for a local food security collective.

“Our sales at the end of the day Wednesday totaled $6,040,” said Terrell Thurston owner of COBS Bread Clair Marketplace. “That’s not enough to beat the record. However, I forgot about the cash box. So, I counted up the cash box and I am happy to say that brought up our grand total to $6,668.”

During their grand opening Thursday Thurston and his wife Tracy Thurston presented a cheque to representatives from Peas in the Pod, a local collective of charitable groups that provide food to people in need. The donation broke COBS Bread’s previous national record of $6,500 held by a bakery in Barrhaven near Ottawa.

“It’s totally amazing because people struggle everyday just to get any kind of food on the table,” said Barb McPhee from Peas in the Pod. “We support a lot of fresh food and vegetables so to be able to put money toward that and healthier food is absolutely amazing.”

The Thurston’s donated 100 per cent of sales and donations generated during a special community day Wednesday but their contribution to the community doesn’t end there.

“At the end of the day we donate all of our leftover bread to charity,” said Thurston. “We bake all day, which means we are going to have leftover bread. It gives us a chance to give back and support our community.”

The COBS Bread concept started in Australia 30 years ago under the name Baker’s Delight. It has since grown to other countries with franchises popping up across North America. The company website reports that COBS Bread has donated more $250 million to local charities in the US and Canada since 2003.

“This is our first time opening in Guelph and we’ve had an incredible response,” said COBS Bread area manager Ryan Grant. “We’ve had people travel more than an hour from here to our other locations in Burlington, Oakville and other areas so, for them it is extremely exciting to have a COBS in their home town.”

They were impressed by the generosity and sense of community they found in Guelph.

“Terrell and I wanted to find an organization that was really reflective of the community and we found Peas in the Pod,” said Grant. “A group of individuals like that working together for a common cause was something I have never found in my 25 years in the hospitality industry.”

The Thurstons were regular customers at the COBS Bread bakery near their home in Burlington and that inspired them to open one of their own in Guelph.

“We figured if we are going to be a part of the community we have to really be a part of the community so we sold our house and moved here,” said Thurston.

That was good news for Peas in the Pod member John Buttars from Chalmers Community Services Centre.

“Chalmers is interested in giving fresh food to people who live in poverty on the margins and to have an organization like COBS offer food to the people that we serve, that’s a huge gift,” said Buttars.



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