The Student News Site of Canalside Chronicles

Canalside Chronicles

The Student News Site of Canalside Chronicles

Canalside Chronicles

The Student News Site of Canalside Chronicles

Canalside Chronicles

A second chance
May 7, 2024

90,000 Loaves of Kindness


By Bridgette Babb, Hannah Danielski, Alaina Jonathan and Paul Cifonelli

Brockport NY- Sometimes the universe aligns and allows you to meet someone to impact your life in ways unimaginable. Local baker Chet Fery, the self proclaimed “Breadman” is one of those people, spreading kindness to the people of Brockport and beyond.

Fery’s love of cooking began when he acquired a job at Howard Johnson’s.

“I began to cook because I love to eat,” he joked.

Food was something he loved to create. Bread in particular was his favorite. He remembers fond family memories when his children and wife would gather around on a Sunday waiting for the first slice of hot bread from the oven. He would always make extra to bring with him in his time as Director of Special Ed in Gates-Chili.

“I would bring it to the teachers lounge with the sign ‘Free Bread’ and not only did they appreciate it, they started showing up to work early,” Fery said. “It was amazing to see how a loaf of bread changed people and made them smile.”

Throughout Fery’s 18 years of baking bread, he has given away 90,000 loaves for free, along with many encouraging stories and words to go with it. He does up to 130 events a year, ranging from nursing homes, receptions, and life coach sessions. He has traveled as far as Louisiana to speak to crowds, bringing his bread with him.

“I had to find a way to get 200 loaves there, which was a bit complicated because FedEx wanted to charge a lot and couldn’t guarantee the bread would be there in two days,” Fery said. “Luckily the airline allowed us to check them on the plane and we were able to get the them there.”

Compensations has never been a goal; the intent is to spread kindness to every individual he encounters. He especially enjoys working with young people and helping them get on the right track.

“Children look at us to see how they should be acting, and when we smile, they begin to learn that it is okay to be kind,” Fery said.

He told a story of a young man in Rochester with the Youth and Resources group (YAR). The boy, whose name was Amani had been going down the wrong path, but was trying to change his life around. Fery went there to do a bread lesson and to raise money for the youth group.

“While I did the lesson this kid never said a word, but when it was time to go he grabbed a bag of flour to practice,” Fery said. “The youth group instructor Connie French said i would never see him again.”

To everyone’s surprise, Amani returned the next class after making a loaf for himself and his grandmother. Although the other students laughed at the loaf of bread because of the way it looked, they all took a piece and enjoyed it.

“This was when I knew Amani had kindness and it would get him through anything,” Fery said. “There was something about making bread that seemed to bring out hope and kindness in people.”

Years later he saw Amani again when doing a talk for the campus. He was so shocked that he called his wife and told her to come meet him.

“Amani was a little standoffish but he accepted the hug from her then asked if he could share the bread I brought with his friends. I was amazed at the turnaround.”

breadman story
A sign outside Chet Fery’s house. Fery said the sign was put there five years ago anonymously.

Marina, Fery’s wife said that this was the person he was born to be from birth.

“This is all apart of him,” she said. “He is always the type of person to make you feel comfortable.”

She made sure to add that she never tires of his bread.

Chet Fery is an amazing man who has dedicated his life to the well being of others. His raw acts of love and kindness work their way through the hearts of all he encounters. You can’t help but be happy to be in his presence.

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  • S

    Sandra BaconNov 27, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    My husband and my first introduction to the good people of Brockport was in 2007. We were traveling with two other sailboats on route to the Bahamas for a year’s sabbatical. My husband often says that he looked at the canal as a means to an end, a pathway to get us closer to our destination. Our S/V Manatee was docked along the wall in front of the visitor’s center in Brockport. Our dog, Hatch, aka “Walmart Greeter,” was on the walkway relaxing and people watching. Along came a very nice lady who immediately struck up a conversation with him. He immediately decided she was a dog person and he went through his ritual of wagging, licking and circling to let her know she had been adopted. I was watching this from the cockpit and she introduced herself, “Welcome to Brockport. I’m Lori Skoog.” We talked for a very long time. During our conversation, we discovered we shared many passions: family, art (We were both art teachers!), photography, preservation of our waterways, our love of dogs, cooking and our inability to not become involved with our community. Besides, you always trust your dog’s instincts, right? That was the beginning of a life-long friendship. My husband and I did return that year on our way home to Ohio. Lori and her husband, Garry, were there to meet us and took us to their beautiful farm. The more time we spent with them, the more we learned that they were extraordinarily kind, giving people who just made you feel better by being in their presence. Their work in their community and lives they had changed was done not for recognition, but because that’s what one is supposed to do. We returned to spend an entire summer on the canal, and again in 2015, when we moved aboard Manatee full-time after retirement. I had the privilege of participating in Lori’s campaign for her seat on Sweden’s Town Council. We didn’t know quite what to expect when on the canal, but we soon learned that its beauty, history and most importantly, the people made the perfect destination.