Enlightenment on the bakeless bake sale

There are times when you must know something, when you need the answer, when you must get to the bottom of things, when you must learn the truth.

This was my situation the other day when I became intent upon learning what exactly is a bakeless bake sale.

Maybe in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t much matter what a bakeless bake sale is or isn’t, but for me, not knowing for sure is similar to going mad because you can’t remember someone’s name or something is on the tip of your tongue and that’s as far as it’s going.

It’s the principle of the thing, you understand.

I can’t say I hear or see this term with any frequency until an occasional news release crosses my desk about a nonprofit group having a fundraiser — in this case a bakeless bake sale.

And then I’m reminded that I don’t even know what that is.

Now honestly, that creates a kind of sad mental picture for me, being a person with a sweet tooth — or make that sweet teeth. I picture a bake sale table laden with baked goods — gooey brownies and chocolate chip cookies and icing-heavy cupcakes and pie and oh my, more. I relish a good bake sale, and I’m happy to put money in a donation basket and select one or two of each item, even if it’s all ultimately making a beeline from my mouth to my hips and waistline. So be it in the name of fundraising sacrifice.

But a bakeless bake sale? Sounds like an empty table to me. Nothing in return for something given. So very unfilling.

I decided to ask around my workplace to see if anyone had bakeless bake sale insight. Truthfully, I was curious to see if everyone fell into my clueless category.

I found I had plenty of company, but I found there were valid theories, too.

One person said it means you don’t bake anything — it’s a bake sale featuring no-bake cookies or rice krispie treats or pudding or Jell-O.


Another said it means you don’t bake anything at all. You give the oven a rest and let the bakery do the rest. You buy baked goods and sell them.

Very tricky. And convenient.

Or you just pretend you’re having a bake sale and make a donation — that was another alternative. No mess. No cleanup. No effort. Just give money and use your imagination that you’ve eaten something sweet and satisfying and given to a worthy cause. You saved time and calories.

I always say the beauty of living is learning something new every day.

In my pursuit of information, I came across “The Bakeless Bake Sale Fundraising Poem,” author unknown:

Many times we’ve heard people say,

I would rather give a dollar than bake today,

So we have a plan that’s bound to be a success,

Join our bakeless bake sale and keep your kitchen spotless.

Just send in the money it would take to bake a dozen brownies or a homemade cake

Or send in the money it takes to buy

A box of cookies or a sweet apple pie.

All this “investigative work” has shed light on a term that seemed confusing, but it’s made me work up an appetite in the process.

Sure could go for a baked bake sale.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)