"Who hasn’t reached for the cookie tin or for a big slice of chocolate cake whenever they’re upset? There is something so comforting, heart-warming and soul-lifting about home-baked goodies, and as every baker knows, there's a lot of love that goes into baking. So what could be better to show the hospice patients, their families and the staff that we care and are thinking of them than with a batch of freshly baked treats."
That is how Nessie Chan feels and was her reason for starting Baking for Hospice. It was also her way of saying ‘Thank you.”
Both Nessie's Dad, Yiu Kong Raymond Chan (who died from liver cancer) and Nessie's Aunty Wendy (who lost her battle with breast cancer) spent their last days being cared for at North Shore Hospice.
For the last month of her Dad’s life the hospice became like a second home and Nessie was overwhelmed by the way he and their whole family was cared for by the wonderful staff: nurses, doctors, counselors and volunteers .
They loved the small, special treats like the baking which was regularly donated by a local bakery, and she remembers how her Dad would sit up in bed and enjoy dunking a piece of freshly baked shortbread in his cup of tea.
She wanted to give back and came up with a great idea: She loves baking and so do a lot of her friends, so she encouraged them to join her to bake for the hospice on a regular basis. That’s how Baking for Hospice started. It’s been a win win initiative - the bakers enjoy baking, and the hospice loves being at the receiving end.
“The staff there are really truly amazing people and are always so gracious and grateful for the baking we give. It's really humbling to think that such a small thing from us means so much for the hospice staff, the families and the patients. It's also been amazing to meet and have contact with all the bakers - they are all such warm, generous and caring people who just want to help out. Massive warm fuzzies all round!”
Baking for Hospice is not a big ask. Not everyone bakes each month (which is just as well, as there would be far too much baking then!), but there's always around 20 bakers who contribute each round.
Nessie explained how the system works:
“I have four wonderful ladies (Philippa, Diana, Dani and Kathryn) who act as drop off sites around Auckland (mostly the Shore) for other bakers to drop the baking off to. I drive around and pick up the baking and drop it off to the hospice, run the blog, buy the cake boxes, answer queries and send out the emails.”
Baking for Hospice has really taken off! Nearly two years ago there were just Nessie and six of her friends. Today there are 100 people on the email list. Anyone who just wants to support the awesome work the hospice does is welcome to join. The more the merrier!
Nessie has set up a website to let her bakers know what is happening, and chooses a new theme every two months. It’s not compulsory but it adds to the fun.