“Las penas con pan son menos,” is a saying I grew up hearing from my mother time and time again when she would feed me during illness, heartbreak or any difficulty. It roughly translates to “worries with bread are less.” I always took it to mean that when you are going through hard times having a full belly makes things better because then, at least, you aren’t dealing with hunger too.
Four El Bolillo Bakery employees in Houston trapped at work by rising Hurricane Harvey floodwaters really took that saying to heart and then some.
Before Hurricane Harvey’s arrival, bakers at El Bolillo’s Wayside location worked overtime to produce as much as they could so that people could stock up. Come Saturday evening, they had sold out of everything.
Most of the panaderia’s employees were able to leave, but four bakers weren’t able to get out before the flooding made it too dangerous.
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“They were desperate to get to their families and they couldn’t,” Brian Alvarado, the manager of the bakery, told The Washington Post.
They may have been desperate to get to their families, but they didn’t despair. Instead, they baked and baked and baked. For the two days that they were trapped, they used an estimated 4,400 pounds of flour to bake bolillos, kolaches and pan dulce.
They baked so much that the bakery’s display cases that can hold about 3,000 pieces of bread weren’t enough to hold what they made. After filling the cases, they stored more pieces on cooling racks and counters.
“They just couldn’t handle the stress and they needed to do something, so they just made bread,” Alvarado said. “They were just thinking of everybody else, and they just started making bread for the community.”
On Monday, the bakery’s owner, Kirk Michaelis, was finally able to get to them and to all that beautiful bread they had baked for the community. The men have been reunited with their families and the bread they baked has been delivered to shelters and a nearby police station.
These men put the “dulce” in pan dulce.
If you would like to help employees of El Bolillo Bakery affected by Hurricane Harvey, you can donate to the GoFundMe page set up by Michaelis. All funds will go to employees “who lost cars, homes, and valuables to help rebuild their lives.”
This post is part of The Flying Chancla Report, a weekly series where my flying chancla and I bring you stories that you will give a flying chancla about.
That’s it for this week’s The Flying Chancla Report. I love you mucho and remember, spread love, not chanclazos!