by Helen Holt
Chris Chamberlain has taken over the oven at Good Bitches Baking Timaru.
Mrs Chamberlain recently took the reins from founding member Pauline Robertson, who got the ball rolling in July 2018, establishing a group of keen bakers and volunteers who make sweet treats and deliver them to Women’s Refuge and South Canterbury Hospice.
The national initiative was started in 2014 in Wellington by Marie Fitzpatrick and Nicole Murray, as a way to bring joy to the less fortunate through sweet treats.
Ms Robertson said that she started the group because it was an easy way to volunteer.
“I saw it happening around New Zealand and I thought it was a great way to help less fortunate people.
“It’s also an easy way to volunteer, because you’re not completely tied down. You just help out when you’re available. It’s not like you have to be there every second Tuesday or anything,” she said.
The former pastry chef loves to make beautiful cakes and help people.
“It was pretty easy to set up. I just sent some requests out on social media, which got a good response, and got plenty of support from the national organisation.
“I’m generally an environment person, so this was the first time doing a more social impact kind of volunteering.”
She was proud to hand over the “head bitch” role to Mrs Chamberlain.
“Chris is brilliant. She’s just so positive, and she’s already finding ways to get more volunteers.”
Mrs Chamberlain said she was inspired to join the group after seeing the founding members receive Queen’s Birthday Honours.
“I thought it was such a nice thing, and I wanted to get involved around the same time as Pauline was trying to start something up in Timaru.”
“I love baking, but I didn’t want to be surrounded by sweet things all over my house.”
She loved being able to give back to the community.
“There were times where I wanted to help people, but I wasn’t sure how.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community. We help people spreading kindness, so I guess you could say we’re the icing on the cake.”
The Timaru group has 33 members.
Mrs Chamberlain is also a registered nurse, keen baker and tramper, but she is not overwhelmed by her busy lifestyle.
“She just takes it in her stride,” Ms Robertson said.
Mrs Chamberlain said in her new role she hoped to help the group thrive.
“We’ll be bringing in a roster system soon. At the moment people just put their hands up when we need volunteers.
“We are on lookout for more people to join us, so we can expand a bit more and help more people.”