Hampstead bakery sells challah ribbons to boost mental health support

Sisters Tami Isaacs Pearce and Sacha Isaacs, of Karma Bread

Sisters Tami Isaacs Pearce and Sacha Isaacs, of Karma Bread - Credit: Tami Isaacs Pearce

A South End Green bakery is selling challah ribbons to improve services for mental health. 

Karma Bread is donating the proceeds to Jami – which provides services for psychological wellbeing – as part of Mental Health Awareness Day (October 10).  

Tami Isaacs Pearce, the bakery’s owner, says she was given “phenomenal” support by the Jewish charity when she was struggling during the pandemic – but believes support services from public authorities are inadequate.  

“It was a very, very, very scary time and Jami offered me once-a-week telephone support,” Tami told the Ham&High.  

“They were phenomenal, informed, intelligent and supportive. They had such strong empathy but they really took it very seriously.” 

Tami says mental health services are “flawed” due to “underfunding” and “apathy” from the government – and that charities therefore bridge an important gap of support. 

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed a swell of people facing mental health battles in their day-to-day life, and Tami says it is vital support services are now held in person.  

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“I think there's a fine line between Covid and actually dumbing down resources so much that you can’t actually have the experience of face-to-face support,” she said.

“It is about human-to-human support. The person gets lost behind that screen. It's inadequate.” 

Karma Bread has supported workers at the Royal Free Hospital with free food throughout the pandemic.  

It has also fundraised for the mental health charity Beyond, and for breast cancer awareness by selling challah boob buns.  

“I have the capacity to fundraise through the food that we make... so why the hell would I not?  

“Creating food can create such value in the community,” Tami said.

The challah ribbons being sold for Mental Health Awareness Day

The challah ribbons being sold for Mental Health Awareness Day - Credit: Tami Isaacs Pearce

Laurie Rackind, chief executive of Jami, said: “We’re very grateful to Tami and Karma Bread for shining a light on mental health in such a unique way, and raising funds to help Jami continue delivering vital mental health services to individuals and their carers living with mental distress.

“The inequality in provision of mental versus physical health statutory services means that communities rely on organisations like Jami, to receive the healthcare they need and deserve.”   

To buy charity challah ribbons from Karma Bread visit the bakery at 13 South End Road NW3 2PT on Friday (October 15). 

To donate to Jami visit https://jamiuk.org/donate/  

Ribbons are the international symbol for mental health awareness. The Department of Health and Social Care was contacted for comment.