Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones and Rockville Police Chief Victor Brito stepped out from behind their desks to whip up some culinary delights Wednesday as part of Main Street Connects in Rockville’s Bake with Sharon segment.
Main Street Connects’ Sharon Cichy, the organization’s chief strategy officer, started the baking segment during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way for community members to connect.
“It allows people to be accessible where they otherwise might not be able to get here and feel included,” she said. “It’s just a feel good, fun way to connect. It’s a great way for me to bring in community leaders and have a deeper connection with our members. Everyone loves to cook and bake.”
The police chiefs joined Cichy to bake bread pudding. Jones’s dish featured pumpkin and walnuts while Brito’s featured walnuts and chocolate chips.
Brito said bread pudding was one of the desserts that held fond memories from his childhood.
“My father…used to make bread pudding. He made it all the time and it was my favorite,” he said. “It’s what reminded me of my childhood, my growing up and it always made me feel good because my father made it.”
Jones said he admired watching his grandmother bake when he was younger.
“My grandmother was a fabulous cook. She was a fabulous baker,” Jones said. “[I] always was just amazed at her ability to put together dishes.”
Main Street Connect, founded by Bethesda Magazine owners Scott and Jillian Copeland, is a nonprofit organization that developed an affordable, accessible and inclusive apartment complex and community center that opened in 2020. Main Street, located at 50 Monroe Place, focuses on three main aspects: an accessible apartment building where 25% of the 70 units are for adults with disabilities and 75% of the units are affordable, a membership-based community and a mindset at a model.
In addition to having members in the apartment building, the organization has members in and out of Montgomery County, expanding over 13 states, Cichy said.
Main Street Connect member Lindsay Mohler said she tries to attend the cooking segments.
“I really like baking,” she said. “So, I really like learning new ways of making desserts and I really enjoy watching [Sharon] do it because she always has a different method than I’ve seen in other places.”
An important aspect of participating in the baking segment for Jones was the community outreach.
“It shows an outreach to the developmental disability community, and it shows what we as police can be engaged in many of the things that they’re learning today,” he said. “We’re here baking something I’m sure that they really enjoy. …I think the takeaway is that they see us as people too. And then they can communicate and talk to us and ask us questions along the way.”
Brito said there were two primary takeaways he wanted members to take from the segment – the connection between him and Jones and their humanity.
“Chief Jones and I have a wonderful relationship here in the county to ensure that the safety of everybody in our communities are safe and resilient,” he said. “But it’s also about partnership with our community. It’s very important for me for people to see police officers as human beings. We do the same things everybody else does so I want people to get to know us and by getting to know what’s beyond this badge is our hearts.”