I first heard of Pan de Mar through Palma Yacht Crew Facebook group. What they do sounded really interesting, so I decided to talk to one of the founders, Jeroen, and find out more. We met at the bakery a few days after they officially opened, at the beginning of June.
Can you tell me briefly what is it that you do?
Jeroen: We make fresh delicious artisan bread and give it to people who don’t have food, including those who lost their jobs due to the measures implemented in relation to COVID-19. We also offer people work, taking them out of the unemployment queue.
Who are the people behind this project?
Jeroen: Thorsten Meinzer, Karina Sharapova, Analia Bruntz, Alexis Cataldi, Alexandra Kulik, Peter Klein and me, Jeroen Witteveen. There are many more people involved, but this is our core team.
How did you come up with the idea?
Jeroen: The project started about half a year ago. My friend Karina noticed the queues outside the soup kitchens in Palma growing, just after the firs lockdown. Before that, we could see a few drunks and a few drug addicts, usually some 10-15 people per day. Suddenly, these queues grew to 200-300 people – people like you and I were also queuing for food! In our opinion giving money was not a solution, so we started brainstorming. We wanted to do two things: a) give jobs to people who lost their jobs and b) get those people to do something they could give away and sell, to help others. We thought of bread and that is how the idea of a bakery was born.
What have you done so far?
Jeroen: Our chef, Alexis, was one of those people who lost his job as a head chef of a well know restaurant in Palma. He got very little government help and could not even afford his rent. To start with, he was baking bread in his kitchen and the team was paying him a small amount, just to survive. Soon afterwards, a sponsor appeared and offered to finance a bakery. So, we found this place, a former pizzeria. Alexis adapted the pizza oven to make bread and we opened on the 4th June 2021, although we were already baking bread and donating it for the past six months. We now offer not just several types of bread, but scones, brownies and sandwiches. We also have a good, strong specialty coffee. It is provided by Arabay on C/ Sindicat, who also donated the coffee machine for the project.
How much of your bread is donated and how much is sold?
Jeroen: About 70% is donated to the food kitchens and about 30% is sold. We are sponsored by people who want to help and we pay salaries to the people who we employ. This is a completely non-for-profit bakery.
So, if I wanted to pay for 10 breads, take one home and donate 9, can I do that?
Jeroen: Yes, of course! You would be most welcome to do that. In fact, we would encourage anyone who can to do it.
Finally, any plans for future expansion?
Jeroen: We would like to open more bakeries and help more people both get fed and get employed, but any likely expansion depends on the funds we receive in the coming months and years.
Following our chat, Jeroen invited me to come with him and deliver some recently baked bread to Associacio Tardor, one of several soup kitchens in Palma. As we filled up two huge bags and set on our way, carrying this heavy load, I thought to myself how fortunate I was to still have a place to stay and food on my table every day. Seeing the volunteers at Tardor – hard at work, preparing hundreds of meals daily – was such a humbling experience and I promised Jeroen that I will also get involved and help in any way I can.
If you would like to sponsor Pan de Mar´s noble cause with any amount, big or small, their IBAN is: ES67 0049 0289 7420 1009 6091
Text and photos: Mia Naprta
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