Every Sunday, homes around Tauranga are filled with delicious smells of homemade baking.

Some days it's sweet muffins, gingerbread men or chocolate-chip biscuits. On other Sundays, it may be elaborate four-tier cakes or hot-cross buns.

But instead of being devoured straight away, the warm treats are bundled up into white baking boxes and saved for the next day.

On Mondays, the boxes of baking are given to local charities around the city and passed on to those in the community who are less fortunate.

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Megan Howells, with two other Tauranga women, runs the Tauranga chapter of Good Bitches Baking.

The three woman met at work and give up their spare time to organise the weekly drop-offs of much-loved treats.

Howells is an event co-ordinator for WorkSafe New Zealand; Celeste Corrin, a visual merchandiser for Farmers; and Alex Fisher is a labour inspector for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The Good Bitches Baking charity has been spreading joy all around New Zealand for more than four years and in Tauranga for two.

Howells says there are around 50 women in Tauranga who take turns baking each week for four local charities.

Homes of Hope, Te Tuinga Whanau – Support Services Trust, Shakti Women's Refuge and Rau o Te Huia Community Trust receive the weekly baking.

"They just love receiving it," Howells says.

When she first heard about Good Bitches Baking, Howells was sceptical of how baking could really help those in need.

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"I had to get my head around the idea that it was giving sweet treats, whereas I could see a proper meal being more sustainable."

However, the community project is about much more than just baking, Howells says.

It is about people in need having the luxury of enjoying something made in someone's home with love, a home many in the city don't have themselves, she says.

"It's really opened my eyes to see that there are so many people out there struggling, and we can make their day a little better."

Emil Verster, Homes of Hope operations manager, says children and house parents look forward to Mondays when the baking is delivered.

"It adds a little bit of colour to the children's week."

In the past, "works of art" have even arrived to celebrate a child's birthday.

"We had one cake recently that was a full-on horse-and-mane creation, and I've seen Disney characters," Verster says.

"It really is a luxury. We appreciate and look out for it."


About the charities

Homes of Hope: A charity which practises a therapeutic model of foster care for abused and neglected children.

Te Tuinga Whanau - Support Services Trust: Offers free social work, advocacy, information and support services to the community.

Shakti Women's Refuge: A national not-for-profit community organisation specialised in the area of women's development, empowerment and domestic/family violence intervention, prevention and awareness.

Rau O Te Huia: A charitable trust that operates a 10-bed residential care facility for those in need, in a kaupapa Māori environment.