For the second year in a row, the Jewish community teen initiative 4Front participated as a youth partner in National Muffin Day. 

National Muffin Day was created four years ago by San Francisco tech lawyer Jacob Kaufman and Julia Levy, an Atlantan who works in the nonprofit sector, to enable people to bake muffins and distribute them to individuals experiencing homelessness in their cities and communities. The goal of the annual event is to inspire and compel Americans to address the epidemic of homelessness.

More than 50 local Jewish teens baked around 300 muffins in the upstairs lounge of the Owings MIlls Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Feb. 23, under the guidance of Chef Nicole Youse, owner of Crossroads Bistro in Belair.

In addition, Jeff Garrett, of the Baltimore area Faces of Homelessness speakers’ bureau, spoke to the teenagers, some of whom came from 4Front’s Teen Service Council, FUN(d) and Diller Teen Fellows programs.

The muffins were distributed to myriad local nonprofits through Jewish Volunteer Connection, a program of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore. In addition, some of the teens spent the afternoon at Our Daily Bread in downtown Baltimore and personally distributed muffins to homeless individuals there on the street.

Rabbi Dena Shaffer, executive director of 4Front, called the group’s participation in National Muffin Day “awesome, just a great day. We framed this through the Jewish value of b’tzelem elohim [in God’s image]. We tried to show them that these are real people experiencing these issues every day. We wanted to expose them to this epidemic and show them that they can play a role.”