The rapid rise of Good Bitches who bake

by Vomle Springford / 08 June, 2018

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From left, Good Bitches Baking volunteers Jacinta Khiu, Michaela Hay, Rebecca Lal and Anthea Ming of the Auckland Central chapter with the charity's fundraiser book. Photo/Supplied.

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The ever-expanding Good Bitches Baking charity is now opening a South Auckland chapter.

Turns out there are “quite a lot of bitches” in Auckland.

There are around 170 in Central Auckland alone, but they bake treats for strangers going through challenging times, which is not a very bitchy thing to do.

Jacinta Khiu, Michaela Hay and Anthea Ming are three of them and they’re actually “good bitches” volunteers for the New Zealand-famous charity, Good Bitches Baking (GBB).

Do you know of good people doing good things in their community? We'd like to hear about it! Email us.

Khiu likes the name. “It harks back to the days when someone was called a good bastard or a good bitch, it’s maybe less PC now. But to us, it’s gender neutral, it signifies a good sort.”Hay agrees. “I think it’s really memorable, once you hear the term you’re not going to forget it.”

Since 2015, when two Wellington friends first set up the charity, the “bitch list” has grown every year. Today, more than 1400 men and women around the country make cakes and biscuits to give to families with children in hospital; those using food banks and soup kitchens; residents in hospice and their loved ones; and women and children fleeing domestic violence.

What keeps the charity and its steady list of volunteers thriving is the practicality of it as well as word of mouth.

“It’s something really easy you can do for someone,” says Hay.

“It’s a very hands-on way that people can help those in their community,” says Khiu. “We’re not changing the world but sometimes a biscuit or piece of cake will help you feel normal for a moment, knowing that it’s baked by someone in your community that’s thinking about you.”

Khiu, Hay and Ming are on the committee for the Central Auckland chapter and there’s also a West Auckland, North Shore and soon-to-be South Auckland chapter, which Khiu is helping set up.

“It’s quite a big area – from Otahuhu down to Waiuku, and there’s a lot of deserving recipients there,” says Khiu. “We’re slowly growing our bitch list, hopefully we’ll do our first bake in the next couple of months, all going well.”

A love of baking, unsurprisingly, drew them to the cause.

Hay started baking as a kid with her mum. “I quite like rules and instructions, I could follow the directions and it would turn out awesome and people liked it, so it encouraged me to do it more.”

Soon her flatmates were complaining about how she was “making them all fat” so GBB has provided her another place where the baking will also be appreciated.

Khiu admits to bungling a banana cake when she first tried her hand at baking in her mid-20s but has honed her skills since then, thanks to a bit of inspiration from celebrity chefs Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver, and Britomart dessert bar Milse.

Like many volunteers, they’re modest about what they do but they donate a lot of time, ingredients and petrol to the cause; around 16 boxes of treats are baked and delivered by the Central Auckland chapter each week to places like Ronald McDonald House, the Neonatal Trust, Women’s Refuge, Shakti Women’s Refuge, Island Child, Cystic Fibrosis, and Sweet Louise.

“The feedback we get is really cool,” says Khiu. “They’re so appreciative and it’s really nice knowing that we’ve made a small difference.”

The GBB Central Auckland chapter is holding a fundraiser movie night on Weds 27 June, screening Oceans 8 at Event Cinemas Newmarket. Tickets include a goodie bag. Find out more here

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