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This piece is presented by Flyboy Donuts.
The sweetest part of the day at Flyboy Donuts usually happens right before closing.
That’s when someone – often Pastor Jeff Hayes – comes into the store and leaves with large plastic boxes filled with doughnuts.
“When I first bought the business, I quickly realized that in order to be successful we would need to have a good selection of doughnuts well into the afternoon,” owner Ben Duenwald said. “ Since we never sell day-old doughnuts, this means we’d have a good quantity every day that we’d need to get rid of.”
He mentioned this in passing to a customer shortly after the store opened a few years ago in The Bridges at 57th. The man said he would take the leftovers that day and had an idea of a group that might be willing to help on a regular basis.
“Little did we know that when we sent this gentleman out the shop with three garbage bags full of leftover doughnuts that we would be setting in motion a great collaboration,” Duenwald said.
It’s a collaboration that now means his store donates 200 dozen doughnuts almost every week.
Here’s what happened.
That chance meeting was with a volunteer from Faith Temple Church, where Pastor Hayes organizes weekly food giveaways. The man connected Hayes and Duenwald, and the doughnut distribution began.
“Usually, I pick them up on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” Hayes explained. “One time, I took them to the Lutheran School and Memorial Lutheran, and they asked if they can help, so they deliver on Friday and Saturday, and bring Friday doughnuts to our giveaway.”
Hayes takes the doughnuts throughout the week to schools, retirement homes, the Glory House, veterans and the juvenile detention center, where counselors have said “we have clients here who don’t want to go home because these doughnuts come so often,” Hayes said.
The Salvation Army has been working with Flyboy since earlier this year to take Monday’s leftovers. They are given to people who come to the agency that night to pick up leftover bread and are provided as a thank-you to bell ringers the next day.
“We put out a tray of them, so they can have one with hot chocolate or coffee before they go out,” said Marcie Priestly, director of development, volunteers and community relations. “They’re really great doughnuts. They’re wonderfully made, and they taste just great.”
The recipients enjoy the treat, she added.
“It’s not typically something they would spend their food dollars on. And we don’t have the budget for something like that. The money we have goes for staples, to make up meals, so this is something that we’re excited to get.”
On Sundays, the doughnut recipient is the Nightwatch Canteen, a project of United Methodist churches. The program uses a van to deliver meals Sunday nights to people at two downtown locations. The doughnuts are included as a treat.
“It’s a really generous gift. We really appreciate it,” said Pastor Kip Roozen of Asbury United Methodist Church. “We see it as an added bonus of what we’re able to give to people.”
To show appreciation, the church always orders from Flyboy for meetings or gatherings.
Other customers also have mentioned donations to the nonprofits when visiting Flyboy, Duenwald said.
For him, growing up on a farm reinforced the value of food, and even when he had to dispose of it in the food industry, “luckily it never became ‘normal’ to me.”
Working with the nonprofits has been extremely rewarding, he said.
“As bakers who take pride in our work, we don’t have to feel bad that our leftover doughnuts are being wasted. We also have the added bonus of knowing that those treats are going to those who really appreciate them.”
The sweetest part of the day at Flyboy Donuts usually happens right before closing. Take a look.