Free Cakes for Kids was founded in Oxford nearly a decade ago to provide free birthday cakes for kids who might otherwise go without. The not-for-profit organisation now has almost 60 branches across the country.
The Haringey branch was set-up in 2014, after Gabby Ogiste, who lives in Bruce Grove, read a magazine article about the initiative. “I remember that day I read about it on the tube,” she says. “I was actually in tears…it’s such a nice idea.”
After making some phone calls, she was put in touch with Rose Orlik, also a local, living in Wood Green, and together they founded the Haringey branch.
By day, Gabby works in fashion HR and Rose works for an environmental charity.
Gabby, who is currently on maternity leave, explains her motivation. “Maybe it’s having children. I think I’m more in tune and aware of circumstances where children don’t have a lot of opportunity generally in life. Because I’ve got kids maybe and mine have so much in relative terms. It just tugs at my heart-strings.”
The team in Haringey is growing stronger every day and now has around 25 local volunteer bakers.
Requests for cakes are made centrally to Free Cakes for Kids through referrals from schools, children’s centres and charities, and Rose and Gabby allocate a volunteer baker for each project.
The volunteers fund each project themselves, including fronting the cost of ingredients and materials needed but the feedback given by is perfect payment-in-kind.
Sometimes the volunteers get to hear first-hand the impact their cake has had on the lives of the kids they’ve baked for.
On Saturday 10th September, Gabby and Rose will be at The Tottenham Flower and Produce Show at Lordship Recreation Ground, selling slices of cake to raise money to help fund the project.
They will also be on the lookout for more budding volunteer bakers and potential referral partners.
“It’s a small thing I can do that takes a bit of admin, but I can do it from my sofa,” Gabby says. “I give some money to charity, but this is something that’s more tangible for me and it’s really local.”
Words: Jess Beesen-Smith
Images provided by Free Cakes for Kids