Western Washington University third-year, Sofia Larrondo, has been selling homemade baked goods since March 2021 and donating the profits to the Bellingham Occupied Protest Mutual Aid to help the homeless population in Bellingham.
The organization created Camp 210 and many local volunteers helped move and relocate the homeless community as the government pushed them from place to place, Larrondo said.
In Camp 210, many volunteers brought blankets and other materials they didn’t have or have the means to buy, others made and distributed food.
Though the camp is no longer physically present, the people who organized and managed it still help the homeless community by meal prepping and allocating donations, Larrondo said.
As Larrondo is a full-time student and is a part of extra-curricular activities, she does not have the time to meal prep or have the funds to donate. However, she has a strong passion for baking and always made more than she could finish.
She has thought about providing the pastries to the organization and giving away the bread however, concerns about dietary restrictions stopped her from doing so, Larrondo said.
She also started making care packages after buying snacks, hand warmers, water and other necessary items.
“Sometimes I carry [care packages] and if I ever see someone [in need], I just give them to them,” Larrondo said. “There's many ways that you can help, it's just a lot of people don't really take the time. I try to find a way to help.”
The process of Larrondo’s fundraising starts with her posting about it on social media where she puts the prices on the items, and ends with customers picking up their goods or her delivering it to them on campus.
Larrondo has made banana bread, carrot cake and cookies so far but wants to make more pastries like scones, cheesecake and lemon drops. She also makes sure to create separate batches for those with food allergies.
“I've tried the banana bread, and my roommates really liked it,” second-year Eduardo Camarena said. “It's for really good cause, so I feel like a lot of people support it and it's really good bread.”
Camarena met Larrondo through the Latinx Student Union and started buying her bread from then on.
“The fact that she's busy with school and clubs, [and] she goes out of her way to support a charity that’s less fortunate, I think she's doing a really good job and her heart is in the right place,” Camarena said.
According to Joan Connell, a professor and journalist who specializes in religion, ethics and moral issues, when one looks at suffering in a broken world, they can feel overwhelmed by sadness or helplessness so they try to ignore it.
She said what Larrondo is doing is the option to make a difference.
“Sofia is really trying to do something about unfairness and suffering,” Connell said. “She's putting her conscience to work. She's putting her altruism to work which is really admirable. Sofia is choosing to do something inspiring.”
Michelle Soi (she/her) is a reporter for The Front this quarter. She is currently a junior majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Journalism Public Relations. During her down time she likes to go out and try new restaurants or cafes, drive around with her friends, watch anime and read mangas.
Her Instagram is @michellesoi