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Bake a Difference With National Muffin Day

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In the bustling streets of San Francisco, where towering skyscrapers meet the vibrant pulse of city life, a heartwarming tradition embodying the essence of community and kindness was born.

It all began with Jacob Kaufman, a Bay Area native captivated by the idea of baking muffins after a casual conversation with his uncle. Curiosity sparked, and he baked a batch, finding joy in every bite. With the surplus from a dozen and a daily commute down Market Street — a thoroughfare frequented by people experiencing homelessness — Jacob initiated what would become weekly “Muffin Runs,” distributing muffins to his unhoused neighbors.

Enter Julia Levy, who was living in New York City and writing stories highlighting everyday philanthropists. A mutual friend introduced her to Jacob’s weekly Muffin Runs. Inspired by his story, and with a knack for mobilizing others, Julia and Jacob hatched a plan that turned Jacob’s simple act of kindness into a nationwide movement — National Muffin Day.

The concept was simple yet profound: bake muffins and distribute them to people in need or donate them to shelters. For every participant, Jacob pledged to donate funds to organizations supporting the homeless community. What started as a humble gesture quickly gained momentum as more and more people rallied behind the cause.

“One of the many reasons that I really love National Muffin Day is that it encourages people to be kind,” reflects Julia, encapsulating the ethos of the movement she helped create.

But National Muffin Day is more than just a day of baking and giving; it’s a celebration of community in its truest form. It serves as a poignant reminder that within our diverse communities, every individual, regardless of background or circumstance, deserves compassion and respect.

For longtime Muffinteer Sara Ray, National Muffin Day has become a cherished family tradition. From baking with her toddler son to gathering her extended family in the kitchen, Sara’s journey reflects the growth and impact of this annual event. Moreover, it has provided her with a platform to discuss important issues like homelessness with her children and instill in them a sense of empathy and understanding.

“It’s a day of doing something selfless and reflecting on the fact that I have a kitchen and I can make muffins,” says Sara, capturing the spirit of National Muffin Day.

Lisa participated in her first National Muffin Day with Julia in New York City when the tradition was still in its early days, comprised of a small handful of Jacob and Julia’s closest friends and family. Upon relocating to Tampa seven years ago, Lisa continued this tradition, gathering new friends in a communal effort to bake and give. 

However, her commitment transcended personal circles when she integrated National Muffin Day into her professional endeavors at a nonprofit organization. Transforming it into a cornerstone of their social action initiative, they mobilize over 25 individuals annually to join in baking and sharing muffins with those in need.

Lisa’s dedication reached new heights last year as she orchestrated the production of a staggering 300 muffins alongside renowned chefs Rosana Rivera and Ricardo Castro in a bustling commercial kitchen. For Lisa, National Muffin Day is “about repairing the world, and doing [her] part to be a good human.”

Julie and her daughters represent National Muffin Day’s spread from a friend and family event to a truly national community. Unlike Sara, Jacob’s friend, and Lisa, Julia’s friend, Julie came to be part of the National Muffin Day baking community after she learned about it on social media. Julie was immediately drawn to the mission of raising awareness for homelessness. With her daughters’ love for baking, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give back to their local Family Promise organization. Donning their aprons, the girls eagerly participate in National Muffin Day’s annual Facebook live baking event, relishing the chance to interact with fellow bakers worldwide.

It becomes so much more than nourishment…it’s a vehicle for relationship building and cultivating a deeper empathy and desire to bring about lasting change. – Dena, Muffinteer

Dena is a Baltimore-based baker inspired by stories of passion turned into social impact. “It’s awesome to know that something so often underplayed as a hobby can actually be leveraged and repurposed for social good,” Dena expresses enthusiastically. Within her dedicated efforts on National Muffin Day, Dena makes an effort to not only drop off muffins at locations serving people experiencing homelessness but to also share the snacks alongside the individuals served. She uses the muffins to interact with, grow closer to, and learn about the recipients’ stories. For Dena, a National Muffin Day muffin “becomes so much more than nourishment…it’s a vehicle for relationship building and cultivating a deeper empathy and desire to bring about lasting change.”

One of the great joys of National Muffin Day is how it helps people forge new connections with their community and other bakers. For Danielle’s family, National Muffin Day is also a way to stay connected to a loved one who has passed. Danielle’s sister, Tiffany, was very involved with National Muffin Day. She looked forward to it each year and encouraged her preschoolers to make handwritten notes to be handed out alongside the muffins. After she passed, Danielle and her daughter chose to honor her sister by participating in this movement she loved. They have baked over 500 muffins yearly since 2021. 

With each passing year, the tradition of National Muffin Day grows stronger, the community grows larger, and the impact grows greater. So, as we approach this year’s National Muffin Day on February 25th, let’s remember the power of kindness and the difference we can make when we come together as a community. 

Happy National Muffin Day! Let’s bake a difference together.


Editor’s note: By participating in National Muffin Day, which is celebrated this year on February 25th, you’ll become part of a growing community of “Muffinteers.” For every post under the hashtag #GiveMuffins, National Muffin Day organizers will donate ten dollars to @family.promise and @phcsf to support individuals experiencing homelessness and hunger. For more information, visit

Originally published: February 20, 2024
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