IT’S a balmy Wednesday evening in Whakatane as Susan Keys, Millie Bruce and Nyssa Brewer gather around the dining room table in Susan’s home.
The three women are meeting to discuss the development of a local chapter of Good Bitches Baking.
“It’s a network of people who volunteer their time to bake at home and donate to people going through a tough time,” Millie explains.
“Whether that be people who’ve got family in hospital, places like Women’s Refuge, or hospice. It’s just a way to give them a wee treat when they’re going through this rough time.”
If the name seems a bit confronting, well, it’s supposed to.
According to the GBB website, the name is meant to not only command attention but also challenge its negative connotations and take “the sting out” when someone tries to use it as an insult.
And it seems to be catching on. GBB has chapters all over New Zealand, with new chapters popping up all the time. With enough support, Whakatane will be next.
The three women heard about GBB through the news, friends, and word of mouth, and were immediately attracted to its mission.
“My friend was baking in Wellington for them and I thought, ‘Oh yes, I’m keen to bake.”
Millie says. “I moved to Whakatane in June last year and found that there was no Good Bitches chapter, which is when they asked if I’d like to set it up.”
“I thought, I’m new to this place, what a great way to get involved in the community and meet some people,” Millie says. “But also, I think in Whakatane there are a lot of organisations that would benefit.”
Once she decided to go ahead with it, Millie recruited Nyssa, a high school mate. Susan’s details were emailed to her from headquarters, and the three of them came together to start planning.
“It’s a feel-good thing,” says Susan, a Ministry of Education support officer and former teacher. “And, yes, we could give people groceries, but there’s something about home baking. It’s a really personal thing and I think that’s what appealed to me.”
Since then, they have been in touch with potential recipients, recruited a couple more bakers, and even secured a few delivery drivers as well. But, as with any new venture, they are looking for more people interested in joining the Good Bitches team.
“It’s gender-neutral,” says Susan. “It’s not only women. There are a lot of awesome men bakers out there and we want them to come on board too.”
Volunteers are asked to commit to baking or delivering at least once a month and must purchase their own ingredients, but GBB will supply cake boxes and a flyer to write down the ingredients used.
“There’s a roster system in place where we would do a monthly outlook of who’s volunteering this month, put a roster together and then do weekly briefings for people baking that weekend,” Millie says.
“Usually the briefing would happen on Wednesday, the bake on Sunday or over the weekend, and then get picked up either then or on Monday. And then just alternate recipients.”
For those who are interested in getting involved or learning more, the Whakatane chapter can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the national website at www.gbb.org.nz.
Those who want to bake will receive a “How To Bitch” pack via email, detailing, among other things, answers to frequently asked questions, safety tips, and privacy protection.
Potential recipients will receive a “Can We Bake For You” flyer with a face-to-face meeting to follow.
You don’t need to be a master baker to become a Good Bitch, just someone who is keen to show kindness to others through baking.