Life

International Bake Bread For Peace Day declared by Donegal woman

Breezy Willow Kelly – and Sheila – will be baking bread for peace throughout the world today

THANKS to Breezy Willow Kelly, today is the day we can each promote peace in a very special way. This lady from Glenties Co Donegal, a baker and story maker, started a worldwide movement two years ago and it has taken off big time.

International Bake Bread Day for Peace is a challenge to all of us and there’s still time to go out, buy your ingredients and get your family and friends for a great big bake off. As Breezy says: “What must you break apart in order to bring a family close together? Bread of course.”

Breezy had a difficult growing up, sad and painful and the only place she felt secure was in the kitchen when her mother was baking bread.

“She was a master baker and the smell of freshly baked bread was the aroma of peace, the smell of freshly baking bread hugged me and I felt safe. And now I want this aroma of peace to fill the world.”

She explains that it began when she woke up early one beautiful July morning and couldn’t get back to sleep.

“I got up, went down the stairs, filled the kettle and because I hadn’t seen the news for days I turned on the television to catch up. I was floored by what I saw: disasters, wars, sadness and despair. Even before the kettle came to the boil my happy mood had changed and I felt fear.

"I was frightened about the situation both at home and round the world. We’re all concerned about what’s happening globally; [it] makes you feel you should be doing something about it but what can you do? Seems you can do nothing. So you do nothing.”

But then, as she thought about it sitting over breakfast in the kitchen of her Donegal home, she realised perhaps there is something we could do.

“Breaking bread is the universal sign of peace. I thought, you know maybe we could get a few heads together to organise something so I posted an idea on my Facebook later that morning and the response I got was overwhelming and led to the creation of an international day.”

Last autumn Breezy decided to take to the roads with her message and she hitched lifts to Northern Ireland with her little dog Sheila, knocked on a few doors and was welcomed in.

“I encouraged my hosts to ask friends, neighbours and family round and we had evenings of baking, singing, storytelling and dancing and it has slowly spread. I finished the tour on December 8 by breaking bread for peace on the steps of Stormont with some MLAs.”

She was well received in Northern Ireland because she feels there is such a desire here for peace. So what does she want us to do?

“No matter where you are in the world, invite people to your home for an evening of baking and talking. Switch off phones and put a sign on the door not to interrupt and be mindful of what it’s all about – peace. Have a lovely evening, share your kitchen and have some fun. Share your baking with everyone and tell people what it’s all about. And if you can’t do it today, do it tomorrow or next week. Just do it and keep doing it.”

And maybe you can help Breezy if you have been her host. On her way home from touring the West of Ireland recently, she had, as she describes it, a wild setback.

In Letterkenny she was thumbing to get a lift to Glenties, realised she’d no milk for a cup of tea, picked up her dog and dashed across the road to the shop, leaving her rucksack on the pavement.

“When I came back it had gone with my precious notebook with all my contacts and writings. I’ve lost all the information I’d gathered.”

This good woman with the soft Donegal voice deserves better – let me know if you have any information.

As the poet says, peace comes dropping slow but this movement is travelling into homes and businesses at a fast rate, not always to bring peace to world hotspots but to homes where there is distress. The smell of fresh bread is a healer and sitting round a table the best way to communicate and build bridges.

Breezy sums up her thoughts with this story: “There was a humming bird lying on the grass one day with its legs up in the air when an elephant comes along. The elephant says, ‘What the heck are you doing lying there Mr Humming Bird?’

"The humming bird replies: ‘Well, do you know what, I heard the sky was going to fall in today so I’m here to hold it up.’

"‘How do you think a wee buck like you could hold up the sky?’ ‘Sure I know that rightly,’ said the bird, ‘but if I do my wee bit and everybody else does their wee bit, sure it will be all right.’"

Take pictures of your gathering and post them on https://www.facebook.com/bakebreadforpeace. You can also contact Breezy at breezy.willow@hotmail.com

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