[caption id="attachment_23956" align="alignright" width="354"]Female holding large mixing bowl, pouring icing on top of huge cinnamon roll. Whitney pours delicious icing on top of a huge cinnamon roll in preparation to donate proceeds from its sale to local food banks.[/caption] After spending a week at home because of the coronavirus crisis, Whitney Rutz, a Northrop Grumman employee based in Portland, Oregon, decided to bake herself a giant cinnamon roll to cheer herself up. She posted it to social media and was pleasantly surprised when people responded asking for a roll for themselves. Whitney decided to make more and auction them off, with the money going to the Oregon Food Bank. The first one sold for $300. "When I started, I said, ‘I'm going to do this every weekend until the crisis ends,’” said Whitney, a senior functional analyst with the company.

The recipe for success in supporting the community

The rolls are huge — 14 inches wide and six inches tall. Each one takes nearly four hours to make. Originally, Whitney’s plan was to make four each weekend, with the hope of raising $2,000. That quickly changed as the rolls grew in popularity. Whitney has teamed with the food bank to set up a special website to raise money. For every $500 donated to the Oregon Food Bank, she makes a giant cinnamon roll and delivers it to Portland area health care workers and first responders. Whitney gets help baking the rolls from her seven-year-old daughter Elsa. They’re now averaging seven cinnamon rolls each weekend. To date, she’s raised more than $15,000 for the food bank. Supporting the food bank was an easy choice for Whitney. She tried to think of the best charity with the biggest impact — and for her, the food bank was obvious because so many people need resources to eat.

Transitioning from a Self-Pick-Me-Up to Helping Others

“I am fortunate to still be employed, so it’s the least I can do to help in some small way to ensure people can be fed during this crisis,” she said. “Food banks all across the country are seeing unprecedented numbers of people coming to them for food. What started as a self-pick-me-up turned into an amazing way to support my local food bank and healthcare workers and first responders in my community.”
April 27, 2020