Cougs step up.

Numerous courageous people on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic—nurses, doctors, first responders, and essential workers—sacrificed and helped us all. Many WSU alumni, faculty, and staff sought ways to support them, and to reach out to those in need.


WSU Extension offices closed to the public March 16. But that hasn’t stopped the King Arthur Flour Baking School at the WSU BREAD LAB in Burlington from baking loaves.

Employee-owned King Arthur Flour, a WSU partner that subleases space in The Bread Lab, has been paying its baking instructors to bake for good. Six weeks into the lockdown, they reached their 2,000th loaf. By May 15, they had baked more than 3,000.

King Arthur Flour Baking School sign

Their bread is donated to local school systems, including the Burlington-Edison School District, which continues to provide meals for students, as well as food banks and pantries. “And they will continue to do so as long as they can. There is no end point at this time,” says Janine Johnson, publications coordinator for the Bread Lab.

The King Arthur bakers mostly bake the Approachable Loaf, a whole-grain, tin-baked, sliced loaf. King Arthur Flour is a member of the Bread Lab Collective, a group of bakers, millers, and more who have come together to create an affordable and accessible whole-wheat sandwich loaf. The collective’s flagship loaf contains no more than seven ingredients, is made up of at least 60 percent whole wheat, and sells for under $6. Ten cents of every loaf sold goes to the Bread Lab to support further research of other whole-grain products. Donated loaves do not return ten cents to the lab.

Five baking instructors—plus a dishwasher— are working one at a time three days a week to bake bread during the pandemic. In addition to the Approachable Loaf, they also routinely deliver free bagels, croissants, baguettes, and ciabatta to schools and community organizations.