Julie Walsh, owner of Tally’s Kitchen at Bayside displays desserts last week. The breakfast and lunch restaurant on Marginal Way is participating next week in Bakes for Breast Cancer and will donate 50% of dessert sales to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute research. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

A cupcake, cookie or brownie from a Maine bakery will be much more than just a sweet treat next week.

More than a dozen restaurants and bakeries across Maine are participating in the inaugural Bakes for Breast Cancer Maine, a weeklong event, Aug. 2-8, in which proceeds from bakery purchases will go towards breast cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Steve Quattrucci, owner and general manager of Monte’s Fine Food, was eager to participate in Bakes for Breast Cancer because he said he has watched several family and friends fight the disease. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Bakes for Breast Cancer founder Carol Sneider started the Massachusetts-based organization in 1999 in honor of her mother, Eva, who died from breast cancer in 1973 at age 44.

“One of the happiest memories I have of my mother is baking with her,” Sneider said.

Now the organization is bringing its mission of  “end(ing) breast cancer for good, one sweet treat at a time,” into Maine.

“It’s always been my dream to expand this,” said Sneider, who also oversees Bakes for Breast Cancer weeks in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. “Maine has such a good food scene and is know for it. I felt it was a natural fit.”

So far there are three Portland businesses participating: Portland Hunt + Alpine at 75 Market St., Monte’s Fine Foods at 788 Washington Ave. and Tally’s Kitchen at 84 Marginal Way. Other participants include Ancoa Italian Kitchen in Bridgton; Bow Street Market in Freeport, Great Scott’s Mac Wagon in Windham and Sisters Gourmet Deli in Bath.

“We are super excited we can do our part and join in the fight against breast cancer,” said Tally’s Kitchen owner Julie Walsh, whose sister is a breast cancer survivor.

Steve Quattrucci, owner and general manager for Monte’s Fine Foods, also has a personal connection to breast cancer.

“I’ve had friends and family who have had breast cancer, so we are happy to participate,” he said. “It is an important cause.”

The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 1,430 new cases of female breast cancer diagnosed in Maine in 2021. Overall, the incidence rate of breast cancer has declined over the last 20 years, from 138.3 cases per 100,000 women between 2000 and 2003 to 126.8 between 2015 and 2017.

From Aug. 2-8, participating businesses will raise money for Bakes for Breast Cancer in two ways: by donating 100% of the proceeds from one designated dessert item, which is how Monte’s is contributing, or, like Tally’s Kitchen, by donating 50% of the proceeds from the entire dessert menu.

Monte’s will donate all the proceeds from its sales of its signature ricotta cookie to the fundraiser. Contributed / Monte’s Fine Foods

Quattrucci said all proceeds from the sale of signature cookie, a ricotta cheese cookie with chocolate, orange and pistachio flakes, will benefit Bakes for Breast Cancer.

“We sell a lot of these,” he said. “I think it will be a good fundraiser for them.”

Bakes for Breast Cancer has raised more than $2 million for 20 researchers at Dana-Farber. Since 2019, the money has gone to Dr. Rachel Freedman, who is studying breast cancer in women 70 and older.

The Maine CDC Cancer Registry reports that between 2015 and 2017, close to a third of breast cancer cases in the state were in women 70 and older.

“Without our support, this research doesn’t get done,” Sneider said. “Every dessert and everyone who gets involved truly helps to make a difference.”

 

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