The head bitch of the Whangārei chapter of Good Bitches Baking says the organisation's Community of the Year award shows you don't have to make a grand gesture to make a difference.
Launched in 2014 by Wellingtonians Nicole Murray and Marie Fitzpatrick, Good Bitches Baking is a community of over 2300 volunteers whose baking is distributed to a wide range of charities around New Zealand.
At the New Zealander of the Year Awards on Thursday, Good Bitches Baking took home the Mitre 10 New Zealand Community of the Year award.
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Cheree Morrison, Good Bitches Baking Whangārei's head bitch, said she thought the award was "awesome", particularly because the two founders had worked so hard.
"It's just so nice to see a simple idea can be recognised as being so outstanding and making such a difference to people. That's the key isn't it - it doesn't have to be a grand gesture, it doesn't have to be money, it doesn't have to be anything. That little bit of kindness makes such a difference in the community," she said.
Morrison, a passionate baker, first got involved with Good Bitches Baking in Auckland, before she moved to Whangārei.
"I thought, 'This is perfect, I can still bake and I can still get into that process but I'm not going to continue to put on the kilos of myself and my workmates'."
After being in the works for a few months, the Whangārei branch officially launched with three big Christmas bakes in December last year.
When the Advocate spoke to Morrison this month the group had 30 "good bitches" who baked five big batches monthly for Kind Hands, which offers respite care for children with disabilities, Women's Refuge and Age Concern.
After that story was published, 20 or 25 more people signed up.
"We have about 50 people baking now which means hopefully we can get another charity on board. Everyone I've met has just been so on board with it and so enthusiastic."
Nicole Murray, co-founder of Good Bitches Baking, said she was delighted to have the work of the charity's volunteers recognised, and hoped it inspired more Kiwis to spread kindness within their communities.
"For our recipients, it's never about how flash the baking they receive is - it's knowing that someone in their community was thinking about them and cared enough to try to lift them up during a tough time.
"Our volunteers are baking every day of the week, for people they will likely never meet but the impact of their work is profound. Creating those connections between strangers is powerful beyond measure."
Morrison said baking was special to people as it showed someone had taken time out of their day.
"It's just that thought that someone's done that for you to give you that bit of love."
Other finalists for the Mitre 10 New Zealand Community of the Year Award were Foster Hope Charitable Trust, which has several offices across Northland, and Zealandia (Karori Sanctuary Trust).