Jordyn Haroldsen, contributing writer
Each morning, Orland Bailey goes to Albertsons, Perkins, Smiths and Mrs. Powell’s and collects day-old bread and baked goods. From there, he makes stop after stop to deliver that food to different places around the Idaho Falls area. Orland Bailey, known as the “Bread Man” has done this every morning for the last 15 years. He is 89 years old and doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon.
This daily adventure began after Orland retired from the railroad and needed something to do with his newly found free time. After working for 40 years, he wanted to give back to the community somehow. During a trip to Albertsons with his wife, he noticed a man in the parking lot with a basket heaped full of bread and pastries. The man explained that he would bring the bread to Reginald Reeves, another man who does a lot of volunteer work in the community, to distribute. Orland was intrigued by this idea and asked if he could help.
When Orland first began, the bread would fill up the back of his car’s trunk. Now it fills the back of his pickup truck. Over the years he’s found new locations to deliver these baked goods. Right now Orland delivers to The Haven, the Head Start preschool program, the soup kitchen and St. Vincent de Paul, among others.
Each delivery route takes Orland about two and a half hours to complete driving about 20 miles each day. He’s kept track over the years and estimates that he spends at least $200 per month to deliver this bread. However, it hasn’t just been time and gas money that Orland has sacrificed to deliver this bread to the community. On one delivery, he was broadsided by a pickup truck who ran a red light, but this accident didn’t stop Orland. He went back to delivering bread as soon as he could.
Orland’s family has been involved as well. His grandkids help him when they come to visit and his son, Rob comes with him on his days off. He’s had people offer to help, but it’s a daunting task, so help has come and gone. Orland has recently gotten help from the food bank to distribute his food, but for a long time did this all on his own.
Orland has a sense of compassion and commitment that is inspiring to others. When asked why he does this he said, “I’ve been so blessed with such a special family and my wife. I just like to help people.” Humble and unassuming Orland said, “I hope it helps the community.”
Orland’s message to the people of Idaho Falls is, “We’re blessed to have what we have. Try to help other people.” This is a message that Orland, the Bread Man, lives every single day.
This article is dedicated to the memory of Orland’s wife, Elmoyne Bailey, who passed away Dec. 31, 2016.