MERCER — Whoopie pies and English muffins are Linda Foster Kennedy’s specialties.

Since March 28, early in the COVID-19 pandemic, she has shared her love of baking with the Mercer community.

Linda Foster Kennedy’s table from which she gives away her sweets and other treats. Submitted photo

Her motivation? “We could all use some kindness out here.”

A Mercer resident since 1997,  Foster Kennedy, 62, shares her baked goods with the community from a table outside her house on Kynd Acres Lane. The food on the table is free to all. Donations are accepted — but not expected — to help her pay for supplies.

“Someone in every town is doing something,” Foster Kennedy said. “I had people asking me in the beginning why I was doing it? What was in it for me? I sat around and thought, ‘Why does there have to be a reason to be kind?’ I’m trying to be kind and feed people. That’s what it’s all about.”

Over the past five months, Foster Kennedy has distributed individually wrapped packages of 156 dozen cookies, 12 dozen rolls, six dozen English muffins, six dozen cinnamon rolls, more than 50 whoopie pies, 40 small loaves of bread and 12 jars of rhubarb jam, containing rhubarb donated by Blue Ribbon Farm on Beech Hill Road in Mercer.

“I was kind of listening to folks and hearing with young families how hard it was for them with their kids being home for the whole food ordeal,” Foster Kennedy said. “Parents were struggling to have some stuff on the table, so I just thought I’d put some things out and it kind of took off.”

She said she next plans to stock her table with baked goods over Labor Day weekend. Each full table takes a whole day of preparation.

Foster Kennedy, who learned to bake from scratch at a young age, plans on setting her table and stocking it periodically until the snow flies — or longer.

Her mother, Lucille, was a professional baker at the Waterville House of Pancakes and was generous with the community, Foster Kennedy said.

“She was that church lady where if someone was sick, she’d have meals to the house,” Foster Kennedy said. “She did it out of her own pocket. That was her happiness.”

In Mercer, a town with fewer than 700 residents, Foster Kennedy’s efforts are widely known.

“Linda posted her first baked goods give away on March 28, and has been giving back to this community with her baking talents almost on a weekly basis,” Mercer resident Martha Kitchen said. “It has been such an act of kindness during a time when many people in our little community were in need.

“I haven’t stopped by her goodies stand yet, but I think I’ve gained 10 pounds just looking at all her great baking posts on the Mercer bulletin board (Facebook page).”

Others in the community are sharing in the giving. Blue Ribbon Farm has donated bags of vegetables and freshly ground flour,and other Mercer residents have donated vanilla, a 50-pound bag of flour and a 50-pound bag of sugar.

“The town has been very generous and helpful,” Foster Kennedy said.

Most weeks, Foster Kennedy’s table is cleared of her offerings, which pleases her. Some people pick up sweets for elderly relatives or those who cannot come to the table.

“Maybe it kind of alleviated a little pressure for people, and allowed them to continue on with their lives without stressing out about making something yummy,” Foster Kennedy said. “I’ve got to keep busy, too. That’s what it’s all about.”

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