By CHARLENE PELE, Associated Press
PARABIAGO, Italy (AP) — A small bakery in northern Italy is trying to do its part to help Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.
Baker Matteo Cunsolo makes and sells ‘peace bread’ in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag, with proceeds going to a charity fund helping refugees crossing the Italian border or staying in Ukraine.
Additionally, Cunsolo and local bakers made 600 kilograms (1,325 pounds) of biscuits to distribute to young refugees. He plans to bring the sweets, along with a truck full of locally donated diapers, food, medicine and clothing, to the Ukrainian-Polish border next week.
“After running away from bombs, maybe walking through forests at night in the cold, I think a cookie is like a little hug that can help put a smile on a child’s face,” he said, standing in front of its industrial-sized shelter. oven at La Panetteria in Parabiago, near Milan.
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Cunsolo said he got the idea to cook after watching a TV report about how Ukrainians were treated at the Polish border: they were given something hot to drink and a piece of bread.
“When I heard the word bread, I thought – ‘OK, I’m a baker, what can I do to help?'”
He uses natural food colorings to make the bread: saffron to color the dough yellow, and an infusion made from the leaves of the blue butterfly pea flower, or clitoria ternatea, to obtain the blue. Once baked, he uses butter spray and a “PEACE” stencil to decorate each loaf.
“This is a very important initiative,” said customer Maria Pascolin as she shopped at the bakery. “It’s a drop in the ocean, but if we all gave a contribution it would help.”
Cunsolo makes around 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of ‘peace bread’ a day and has so far raised more than 2,000 euros ($2,214) for the local Lion’s Club charity campaign.
“I believe in trying to help others in every way possible,” he said.
Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed.
Follow all AP stories on the Russian invasion of Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.
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