Bricks to Bread


What is Bricks to Bread? Bricks to Bread International is a nonprofit started by friends after realizing a vision of building a bread oven in Costa Rica. The original oven proved to be a successful way to provide a sustainable income for a family living in a small rural community in Costa Rica. It not only provided a steady income for the family, but also met the need for fresh baked goods in a town that did not have access to them.
Yes! We are 501(c)(3) nonprofit and donations are tax deductible.
One of the co-founders, Nancy Alvarado, served as a Peace Corps in volunteer in Costa Rica from 1989 to 1992. While there she developed many relationships. She also met and married her husband, a Costa Rican native. Therefore, Bricks to Bread currently has strong ties to Costa Rica.
With the help of contacts at local service organizations Bricks to Bread identifies a local family, who not only has the interest and need in running their own business, but also has the drive to be successful. Community ovens often go unattended after the novelty has worn off and fall into disrepair. Helping a family in need build and begin their business ensures the oven will be used for the purpose intended; providing a family with a sustainable income and ensuring the whole community will continue to benefit from it.
Our ovens are built with the funds raised from the generous support of donors and sponsors. Once an oven is built Bricks to Bread helps the families get their business started by providing them with some basic supplies and a limited amount of funds for education. However, it is up to the family to maintain their ovens and provide for the future baking needs.
A brick oven has a baking chamber made of fireproof brick built on a slab of concrete. The purpose of the oven is to trap radiant heat from a fire. Fires are built within the baking chamber and smoke is vented through a chimney on the top. Once the baking chamber meets the required temperature the baking process can begin. Although primarily used for breads, the oven can also be used for baking meals and desserts.
A complete oven build, including a protective shelter over the oven, baking supplies, a prepping and packaging location, and some funds for business development and training, is roughly $11,000.
  • Brick Oven Building Cost - $3,500 Includes oven materials, gazebo materials, tools, thermostats, door, transportation and delivery fees, labor, etc.
  • Baking Materials and Supplies - $1,700 Mixer, scrapers, peels, containers, baskets, scales, baking sheets, initial baking supplies, etc.
  • Gazebo Painting and Cement Flooring - $1,400 Construction and painting materials, rock, sand, transportation and delivery fees, labor, etc.
  • Prepping and Packaging Location - $2,500 Building, electrical and plumbing materials, refrigerator, sink, prep stations, cooking rack stations, transportation and delivery fees, labor, etc.
  • Business Development and Training - $1,600 Permits, certificates, license fees, testing fees, computer, internet, professional development, meals, lodging and transportation.
There are many steps that go into building a brick oven. A basic understanding of masonry is definitely needed. Without detailing all the steps involved we’ve outlined an oven build in five simplified phases.
  • Phase 1 – Foundation Slab Using wooden frames we pour a concrete slab for the oven to sit on off the ground.
  • Phase 2 – Cement Block Base The base of the oven is built on the cerement slab with cinder block and concrete.
  • Phase 3 – Hearth We pour another cement slab on top of the base to serve as the platform on which the baking chamber, the heart of the oven, sits.
  • Phase 4 – Baking Chamber This is the most exciting part of the build. The iconic archway, the baking chamber, and the chimney are assembled using fire resistant brick.
  • Phase 5 – Decorative Brick We finish the outside of the oven giving it the classic brick oven look which also serves ensure the oven lasts for generations to come.
  • You help support Bricks to Bread by making a tax-deductible donation.
  • Sponsor a portion of our build.
  • We also encourage you to create your own fundraising event among your family and friends. There are many resources on the internet on ways to raise money for special causes.
Bricks to Bread does not plan group trips, however, anyone is welcome to join a build. When a build is scheduled information will be provided on how to get involved. If you are interested in helping with a build please feel free to contact us for more information.

Change lives by providing a sustainable source of income for needy families.

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