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While folks have been shut in the past several days during the evolving COVID-19 situation, Kristin Brumm has been keeping busy in her Olathe kitchen baking and delivering pies to cheer people up.
“I think there is just a great deal of fear and anxiety in our communities right now, and many people are feeling isolated,” Brumm said. “And I wanted to do something to both bring some joy to people, and also foster a sense of connection during this kind of weird time where we’re all isolated from each other.”
Brumm has about 20 requests to bake for, but she is halting any deliveries of baked goods for the next 30 days during the stay at home order. She said she plans to pick it up again when the order is lifted.
Brumm’s signature design pies caught the attention of reality show producers earlier this year. She was being considered to appear on “The Great American Baking Show” and had made it to the next round of applications.
In fact, she was hoping to head to Nashville soon for tryouts. (yeah, she’s that good, check out some of her creative treats on Instagram!). But she never heard back about any details and assumes the show was canceled.
In the meantime, she’s thinking about how she can take her baked goods project online, through Instagram tutorials or other avenues.
Brumm said she’s enjoyed baking for most of her life, so sharing baked goods — especially pies, her signature creations — has always been a natural thing for her to spread joy.
“I learned to bake from my mom and my grandmother,” Brumm said. “It’s something that brings me a lot of joy. It’s a way of showing love to others and nurturing others.”
On a personal level, baking is also helping Brumm cope during this period of isolation, and keeps her busy when she’s not working part-time from home as a nonprofit consultant.
“It helps me maintain my emotional equilibrium,” she said. “I’ve been experiencing a lot of anxiety myself, and I find that when I’m baking, I kind of just get in this zone and a lot of that drops away, and I’m happy. It’s helping me and it’s helping others. It seems like a win-win.”
In her eagerness to spread those messages of goodwill and hope to those who may be struggling in this historic time of isolation, she put out information on Facebook accepting requests for baked goods last week. She won’t ask for money, but she’s accepting donations from anyone who wants to help her pay for ingredients so she can keep baking.
“If you are struggling right now, please don’t feel any obligation to reimburse me for any costs,” she wrote. “I am choosing to do this because it brings me joy.”
Brumm said she has taken especial care to wash her hands and keep a sanitized baking environment. In her deliveries last week, she kept a safe distance from the recipients (dropping them off on the porch, ringing the doorbell and stepping back). Plus, she leaves most of her pies unbaked so they can be baked fresh at home (thus killing off any germs and removing any room for doubt about infection).
“This is such a small thing,” she said, “but if it can bring them just a little bit of relief from that stress right now, then it’s a positive.