The Baked Good (The Bake Collective interview)

bake collective
Who knew desserts and social causes could blend so delectably?!

The Ketto team has the deepest respect for red velvet brownies. We also have a high regard for strawberry cheesecake. And chocolate truffles…they do such a lot of good for society. And we don’t just mean how yummy they are for the tummy! What on earth are we talking about? Meet The Bake Collective, a bunch of bakers and volunteers with delicious magic in their hands and goodness in their souls.

We caught up with co-founders Charlene Vaz and Kavita Gonsalves and got to know more about The Bake Collective’s mouth-watering bake sales for social causes, the NGOs they’ve raised funds for and how their campaign for Light of Life Trust came about on Ketto.

Tell us more about the people behind The Bake Collective.

We are an informal network of bakers and volunteers who crowdfund for social causes. The Bake Collective was co-founded by Charlene Vaz and Kavita Gonsalves.

Kavita is a sustainability consultant who works with a number of NGOs and is a part-time lecturer teaching Sustainable Design. Charlene works as a Strategic Global Account Manager at Dimension Data and also moonlights as a Chocolatier and founder of ‘Charlene and Chocolate factory’.

Our team of bakers and volunteers form the backbone of The Bake Collective.  And our well-wishers in India and abroad bolster us further.

Where do you operate from? Any plans to expand further?

The Bake Collective spreads the delicious word about upcoming bake sales and gathers volunteers via social media primarily. In addition, we use our personal and extended networks to connect with the world and crowdfund for our social causes. We don’t limit the work to our cities – Mumbai and Bangalore. For example, a friend in Australia held a bake sale in her neighborhood to support one of our campaigns.

In 2013, The Bake Collective’s Bangalore chapter was set-up. We completely encourage people to start a The Bake Collective chapter in their own cities and towns to work for causes close to their heart.

How did you come upon combining baking and social causes?

It all began as a Facebook chat with a friend who works in the social development sector. We had a brainwave about a bake sale to raise money for one of their causes. It made complete sense to us. We both loved to bake and wanted an excuse to do so. So why not do it for a good cause? That’s how The Bake Collective was born in 2012.

It started as a one-time event that did so well that soon after, we had NGOs and non-profits, in the start-up phase, asking us to help them with their work. We also had many local and home bakers and volunteers asking us when the next event was. Thanks to that demand, we are now two years in the running and organise bake sales every 2-3 months for charitable causes.

The Bake Collective recognises the privilege of being able to help others through compassionate baking, making a difference to someone’s life, someone less fortunate than us.

Any mouth-watering goodies we should know about?! What are the most popular ones?

There are many favourites – red-velvet brownie, meringue, upside-down pineapple cake, cheese cookies, beautifully decorated fondant cupcakes, cowboy cookies, chocolate truffle, snicker doodles, good ol’ sponge and  coconut cake, strawberry cheesecake, fruit crumbles…the list goes on! We’ve also got eggless, butterless, sugarless and vegan options, and offer savory snacks as well.

TBC’s supported several NGOs. Please tell us how you began working with each of them and what the experience was like.

The Bake Collective supports NGOs that are in the start-up phase, typically in their second year of running. We have fundraised for Milaap, Urmi Foundation, World For All, Make A Difference, Mimaansa, Light of Life Trust and Voice of Stray Dogs.

By doing this, TBC has supported shelter homes, orphanages, helped purchase teaching material, furniture, books, etc. for rural schools, toys for children with disabilities, imparted vocational training for candidates from rural areas, funded small-town women entrepreneurs (skilled artisans), helped build water-purification systems, toilets, water connections and solar-lighting systems for rural homes, arranged transport for sending disabled children to school, been involved in the welfare of street animals… this list goes on too!

How did the collaboration with Light of Life Trust come about?

Light of Life Trust heard about the work of The Bake Collective and approached us to support their Anando project which supports teaching materials in rural schools.

How did you come across Ketto?

Kavita, the co-founder of TBC, happened to meet Varun, the founder of Ketto, at one of Ketto’s fundraisers for Shweta Katti, the first girl from Mumbai’s red-light area who got to go to a US university. This led to a collaboration between Light of Life Trust and Ketto.

What are you planning for TBC in the future?

TBC will continue to work with local and start-up NGOs.  In the process, we hope to encourage other individuals and have them organise their own bake sales in their communities, whether at the workplace or at a garage sale.

We also hope to connect with commercial establishments like cafes, restaurants and corporations by having TBC bake sales, vouchers, contributing baked goods to our causes or having a non-day event where a portion of a food bill is contributed towards a social cause. We want people to contribute in the best way they know how, and in the process, build a more compassionate and fairer world.

If you would like to volunteer with TBC or even fundraise for your cause, get in touch via email at thebakecollective@gmail.com or drop them a message on their FB page 

Visit or support the scrumptious TBC campaign on Ketto here!

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Ketto

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