Fairytale Brownies makes a commitment to kids’ playtime
Mail-order baker finds a way to improve the health of children through the KaBOOM! nonprofit builder of playgrounds.
BakingBusiness.com, Aug. 1, 2012
by Laurie Gorton

Sometimes a bakery answers the call to improve kids’ health by supporting physical activity rather than introducing a product. That’s what happened with Fairytale Brownies Bakery, Phoenix, AZ, a producer of bakery treats that appeal to indulgence and fun.

Fun is what led founders Eileen Spitalny and David Kravetz to KaBOOM!, a nonprofit group that builds playgrounds for children nationwide. The group’s goal is to build a safe place to play within walking distance of every child in America. After Hurricane Katrina, it constructed 100 playgrounds in 100 days throughout the Gulf region.

“When you operate a food company, you get many requests for donations, and we wanted to give back to the community,” Ms. Spitalny said. Specifically, they sought to make an impact on the health, both physical and mental, of children. “As a company, we’re quite small, but we want to do our part.”

The idea of supporting playgrounds was a natural for the business partners. “David and I met on the playground during kindergarten and have been friends ever since,” Ms. Spitalny said. ”Recess was a big part of our lives. It was a time to play, to act out dreams, to be imaginative.

“Today, kids spend twice as much time watching TV as they do outside playing,” she continued. “There are fewer play spaces, and their playtime is so much more structured. Children need unstructured time for random play, for imaginative play and to not always be so programmed.”

Since 2001, Fairytale has used its website to tell the KaBOOM! story to a national audience of mail order customers. The company has provided its brownies to volunteers during playground construction and matched the dollars contributed by its customers to the group.

“Last year, we committed to help in a deeper way,” Ms. Spitalny said. Fairytale decided to fund 100% of a KaBOOM! project. It raised $80,000 for a playground at Children’s First Academy, a school for homeless children in Tempe, AZ. The bakery’s staff members and their families participated in building it.