The end of summer typically means a slow, foot-dragging return to school for children -- and for teachers.
The Chesapeake Bagel Bakery has a remedy for the adults. Free bagels. Throughout September the company will give Anne Arundel County public and private school teachers and staff members freebies as part of its fourth annual Teacher Appreciation Month.
"This is in recognition of all the teachers in Anne Arundel County and all the hard work they do," said Charles Cockrill, co-owner of the Severna Park company. "We think they're underpaid and underappreciated."
By calling a "Teacher Appreciation Hot Line," schools can order bagels, receive 10 percent off cream chees and get coupons for three free bagels for every instructor and staff member. So far, the response has been overwhelming, said Mr. Cockrill, who owns the Park Plaza shop with John Luther.
"We've got everybody coming for our bagels -- day schools, nursery schools, even karate schools," he said. "Anything that can call itself a school takes advantage of this."
Already 13 schools have put in orders for about 120 dozen bagels. Mr. Cockrill expects another 150 schools to put in orders before the deadline Friday.
Last year, the Severna Park shop donated more than 15,000 bagels, said Mr. Cockrill. The Chesapeake Bagel Bakery at Harbor Center in Annapolis gave away thousands more, he said.
Mr. Cockrill estimated the two local branches of the company have given away more than 27,000 bagels in the program's four years. That's about $12,150 worth of bagels.
Processing the orders isn't easy. Usually Mr. Cockrill can get through the day with 2,000 bagels. But last Tuesday, the first day instructors were back in the classroom, Mr. Cockrill and his ++ five bakers prepared 1,764 bagels by 6:30 a.m. -- just for the teachers. They started at 4 a.m.
Tara Roucco, the store's general manager, said the store bakes 600 to 700 pounds of bagels a day in September. During the
other 11 months, the store makes that much only on the weekends, she said.
Jim Haynie, an assistant principal at Linthicum Elementary School, requested enough bagels for 50 teachers and staff members. He said education professionals don't get enough credit for their efforts.
"Teachers get a lot of bad press, and they have to constantly change according to the pressures of our society," Mr. Haynie said. "It's nice that a company has taken it upon itself to recognize teachers and the hard work they do."
Rocco Ferretti, principal for Bodkin Elementary in Pasadena, said the free bagels lift the spirits of his teachers and staff.
"They know they're being recognized," said Mr. Ferretti. "September should be Teacher Appreciation Month every year."
For information or to sign up, call the "Teacher Appreciation Hot Line" at 519-1495.