The Wisconsin Bakers Association (WBA) celebrated its 100th anniversary with a statewide WBA Week, as proclaimed by Wisconsin's governor, Jim Doyle. WBA members received a copy of the proclamation to display in their bakeries. Wednesday, September 14 is the actual anniversary date, but WBA celebrated the week of Sept. 12 to coincide with other activities planned around the anniversary.
During the week, member bakeries collected food in a statewide "Dough-Nations for Hunger" food drive. "Wisconsin bakers donate 3/4 of a million pounds in bakery products each year," said WBA Executive Director Dave Schmidt. "So, we decided to draw recognition to what bakers are already doing to serve their communities."
In addition to the bakery products the bakeries donated, participating members set up large boxes supplied by the association in their bakeries to collect any non-perishable food items their customers wished to donate to local food pantries or charities.
"Most bakeries donate their products on a weekly basis. We thought about collecting the food as an entire state and donating it to a national food pantry, but most bakeries are firmly committed to the pantries they already support, so we decided to keep it local," Schmidt said.
To help promote the anniversary and the food donation program, the WBA sent out press releases listing participating bakeries to local newspapers and radio stations. Several bakeries contacted television stations and lined up segments to air on the local news.
Members also joined together to celebrate the anniversary at the Centennial Celebration on Sunday, Sept. 18. The event included baking educational sessions, a decorating contest, tabletop displays, an awards banquet and the awarding of the first Hiller Scholarship.
"Members are excited that the WBA is celebrating its centennial," Schmidt said. "How many associations last 100 years?"