The Bake Collective: Baking Sweetness For A Better World

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Kavita Gonsalves and Charlene Vaz, founders, The Bake Collective
Kavita Gonsalves and Charlene Vaz, founders, The Bake Collective
Kavita Gonsalves and Charlene Vaz, Founders, The Bake Collective

More often than not, it is a humble beginning that turns into a huge project. All it needs is a dream and passion to do something for others. That is what I found when I came across The Bake Collective- an initiative in association with NGOs to help the needy. When I was reading about Jane Jacobs Walk on Kavita Gonsalves‘ website I came across this sweet and noble cause and found it worth sharing with you, MumbaiMag readers. Quickly, I dropped a mail to Kavita for more details on her venture and here is what I found in an email interview with her.

Cake at The Bake Collective, image by Kevin Pereira
Cake at The Bake Collective, image by Kevin Pereira

What is The Bake Collective?
The Bake Collective (TBC), to put it plainly, is a network of bakers, chocolatiers and volunteers that have joined forces to help raise funds for various causes. But in the big scheme of things, TBC is slowly becoming a catalyst for change, by making people aware of how they can make a positive impact to people’s lives with minimal effort.

How did you get this idea? Why did you choose baking to help people?
An unassuming posting by Anoj Viswanathan, co-founder of Milaap, on Facebook led to a spontaneous conversation between me (the baker) and Charlene Vaz (the chocolatier). Given our love for all things butter, chocolate and cream and when you tie that up with the spirit to make a change- Bake sales seemed the obvious contender as a route to be involved with the work that Milaap is doing.

Chocolates at The Bake Collective, image by Kevin Pereira
Chocolates at The Bake Collective, image by Kevin Pereira

What was the first reaction from family and friends when you proposed this idea?
The idea met with much encouragement from our families and friends and eventually took shape with crazy impulsiveness. If we trace the timeline of The Bake Collective: Around 20th February 2012, a posting about Milaap led to the formation of the TBC Facebook group and eventually, a community page which came up on 4th March 2012. Within a couple of weeks, we were already conducting bake sales and we haven’t stopped since.

How did you spread the word about this initiative?
Social Media has played such a big role in the emergence of TBC, so much so, that a good friend put it aptly that we were ‘crowdsourcing philanthrophy’. The word gets out to the general public via Facebook, Twitter & Instagram , and we also have the good old word-of-mouth doing the rounds.

Volunteers at The Bake Collective
Volunteers at The Bake Collective

Which are the NGOs associated with The Bake Collective? How did you team up with them?
Milaap was the first NGO we teamed up with. Post that, we have partnered with World For All, Urmi Foundation, Kranti & Mimaansa. NGOs don’t necessarily come in to just have funds raised, they also come in to support fellow NGOs. For example, the Revolutionaries, aged 12-18, of Kranti volunteered with us to raise funds for Mimaansa. This has helped in fostering and creating wonderful relationships between everyone involved. Mostly organisations hear of us and get in touch- we brainstorm over their targets or urgent requirements, organise our baking goods/ chocolate requirement , schedule the bake sales- The normal practice is to conduct the sales in the months leading up to Easter or Christmas.

Who was the first beneficiary? Where did you find him/her?
Our first beneficiary was Mariyamma, who hails from Byrathi, Karnataka. She wanted to set-up her handicraft business to do the the obvious- sustain her family and eventually lead a better life . You can read up more on her cause here.

Bake Collective goodies, image by Himanshu Rohilla
Bake Collective goodies, image by Himanshu Rohilla

How big is your team and where do you bake?
The core teams consists of me and Charlene Vaz. But in no way do we do this alone- we have a wonderful network of around 20 bakers/chocolatiers and 20 odd volunteers. Our volunteers are involved with sales, designing posters, running and managing campaigns, design of accessories, photographing etc. As you can see, there is room for everyone in TBC.

Tell me more about your professional background.
We are absolute Ninjas!! Na, just kidding; by profession, I am an Architect/ Sustainability Consultant with a propensity for community-driven self-sustaining systems. Currently involved in projects of ‘Multicoloured Dreamz’ & Urban Design Collective. Charlene Vaz is by Profession a Strategic account manager (Global Sales) with an IT/Telecom MNC firm and runs her own chocolate venture ‘Charlene and the Chocolate Factory’. Recently, we were invited to join the advisory board of Urmi Foundation to oversee the ‘Let’s Go to School’ project and have accepted with big smiles.

Chocolate Decadence
Chocolate Decadence

How many people have benefited from The Bake Collective till date?
In collaboration with Milaap, TBC has helped about 16 people gain education, toilets, cooking stoves, business investment etc. 9 children of different intellectual capacities will be able to receive the education they require thanks to the pick-up and drop service of Urmi Foundation’s ‘Lets go to school’ program. In the ‘Fund me a Teacher’ project with Mimaansa, the teacher will have an overall impact on over 650 kids via teaching, monitoring and evaluation services.
Well, its not just people that have benefited through The Bake Collective- we also managed to help fund care and shelter for animals.

Basis what criteria do you pick beneficiaries?
Our criteria for picking beneficiaries depend purely on the causes and the impact TBC can make.

Who can apply?
There is no strict rule- if you have an idea to make the world a better place, then we need to be having a conversation!!

What’s next?
To keep what we love doing most- baking and working out awesome chocolates and hopefully, encourage a whole lotta folks rediscover their capabilities to bring the change they wish to see and experience. Making a delicious Difference!

How can people join in the cause to help?
If you would like to join us by baking or volunteering, please fill this form:
You can also keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also write to us on The journey has so far been pretty amazing and can’t wait to have more folks join us!

You may say, I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us… These lines from my favourite song by John Lennon kept lingering in my mind while I was reading it. I hope you will feel the same too.
What is your idea to make this world a better place?

Mumbai! It’s time to share love, do good and make your city a happier place with #GoodDeedMarathon ! Register for the Good Deed Marathon and spread smiles, click here 


Post By Omkar Padwal (42 Posts)

Loves classical and rock music alike, passionate about painting, writing, photography, travelling and eating!


Omkar Padwal

Omkar Padwal
Loves classical and rock music alike, passionate about painting, writing, photography, travelling and eating!
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