10 Jul 2015

Sharing some sweetness with Good Bitches Baking

From New Zealand Society, 2:20 pm on 10 July 2015

Good Bitches Baking founders Marie Fitzpatrick and Nic Murray alongside volunteer baker Claire Terry
Good Bitches Baking founders Marie Fitzpatrick and Nic Murray alongside volunteer baker Claire Terry

One thing we’ve both learnt is how a little bit of kindness from someone on a really shit day is sometimes all you need to get you through a day that you thought you’d run out of the ability to cope

– Nic Murray, co-founder of Good Bitches Baking

Here’s one recipe for a successful charity venture:

Take a good pair of friends like Wellingtonians Nic Murray and Marie Fitzpatrick…

Add a splash of alcohol…

A pinch of adversity…

And a dollop of wanting to give others a little treat during an otherwise tough day…

Stir all of this together and bake…

The result?

Over 200 volunteer bakers around the lower North Island, helping to spread some sweetness for those having a tough time of it.

Good Bitches Baking is the brainchild of Nic Murray and Marie Fitzpatrick. The good friends both have first-hand experience of being on the receiving end of the kindness of others – Nic when her young nephew was undergoing cancer treatment, and Marie coping with a premature baby. Talking about the state of the world one evening over a bottle of bubbly, the two women decided they wanted to be the ‘sorts of people who saw a need and actually did something about it’.

“Because we both enjoy food and baking we thought let’s just start baking for people, just to let them know that someone out there cares and maybe give them a smile for five minutes,” says Nic.

And so the GBB initiative was born. Launched in October 2014, it now has 170 volunteer bakers and drivers on its Wellington roster alone. A chapter in Palmerston North has already established itself with 40 bakers, and Marie says she’s in talks with at least five other groups around the country, including in Auckland, who are keen to get involved.

The volunteers take turns baking or delivering the goods on a weekly roster. In Wellington alone, there are over 26 recipient organisations, such as Ronald McDonald House and the Wellington Night Shelter that receive boxes of baking from the volunteers.

Baking for Women s Refuge
Left: One of the original volunteer bakers, Claire Terry, with a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Right: Wellington Women’s Refuge Manager Philippa McAtee, and Community Social Worker Rita Harris, with a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies from Good Bitches Baking.

“Our main criteria is that we’re looking for organisations that support people going through a tough time,” says Nic. “We didn’t want to be judgemental as to why people were having a tough time, just that our purpose is to bring a moment of sweetness to people on a really difficult day.”

And so what has reaction been about the slightly unconventional name for the group?

“Good bitch is a phrase that both of us independently always use to describe someone who is a good person and just gets on with sorting stuff out without being a dick about anything,” says Nic. “When we first started we called a few people who thought would have a legitimate reason to be offended by the name, like Women’s Refuge. They roared with laughter… and so we thought ‘well if they’re not going to take offence and anyone else does, it’s their problem.’”

“It’s high praise in our vocab,” chips in Marie with a laugh.

While the volunteers donate their time, ingredients and petrol, Marie and Nic kick-started the venture with money from their own pockets. However, they have set up a givealittle page for non-bakers to donate and have so far raised over two thousand dollars and they're in the process of setting themselves up as a registered charity. All the money raised goes to supplying bakers with stickers, labels and of course cake boxes. The uniform white boxes help with food safety, presentation and ensuring Tupperware containers aren't being chased all over town. They also carry a personal message on the front from the baker to the recipient, as well as the ingredients. “It’s just to let the recipients know that it’s made by hand, with love, and not from a packet or business,” says Nic.

Cookies ready to go
Left: Chocolate chip cookies cooling before being boxed up for the Wellington Women’s Refuge. Right: Claire’s note on top of the box.

“Sometimes it’s a bit confronting to do something kind for a stranger, it does take a little bit of courage… what we’ve done is provide an easy way for people to reach out to others in their community.”

Try Good Bitches' recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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