Marblehead enjoys ‘a random act of bagelness’

Grab the Bagel owner Dave Aldrich coordinates trays of bagels for the Marblehead Rotary’s random act of bagelness, which gifted bagels to every Marblehead teacher, firefighter, and police officer. Photo by Spenser Hasak

Recently, the Marblehead Rotary selected Grab the Bagel to give back to the town’s community in the way its owner, Dave Aldrich, knows best — with what he calls “a random act of bagelness.”

There ended up being 600 bagels, flagels (flat bagels), and gluten-free flagels in total, carefully made and passed out to all the teachers, police officers, firefighters, and administrators in town.

Aldrich officially launched Grab the Bagel last July. However, his idea of giving back to the community started much earlier.

“During COVID, everything came to a halt,” Aldrich said. “I went a hundred miles and hit a stone wall. In an effort to maintain stability, I began baking cobblers for people. I had a group of people deliver them to people in the community with a little note that said, ‘Please accept this random act of kindness.’”

Aldrich soon tried making bagels, even though he’d never done so before. One New Year’s Day, he decided to create 25 bagel baskets to deliver throughout town, with a new note — no longer anonymous — reading “Happy New Year, Dave.”

Two to three hours later, Aldrich started receiving an overwhelming number of calls from people around the community applauding his bagels. He knew then that he was onto something.

After his business opened, he continued to get an outpouring of support from residents in town. He noticed that people began to stop and recognize him, with kids even saying, “Mom, look! It’s the bagel guy!”

One member of the Rotary’s board asked Aldrich to come speak at one of the organization’s luncheons.

Aldrich brought in what he called a “vacuum bagel tower” for every person attending the luncheon, which made him consider doing what he does best for a larger amount of people in town.

Brian Snell, a member of the Rotary, made the suggestion of honoring teachers and public-safety personnel with random acts of bagelness.

“It really was an act of thankfulness,” Snell said. “It was also a hope to expose all those people who hopefully know about his (Aldrich’s) bagel operation and how all these bagels are ultimately funding Grab the Torch, his leadership foundation.”

The foundation’s goals are to enhance the lives of children through leadership, ethics, purpose, and philanthropy.

“I’m a firm believer in how if you’re going to do something… you do it right,” Aldrich said. “Go for a big wow. A big impact.”