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Home bakers charity
Photograph: @able.bagel & @cookienongster

Knead for love: Singaporeans hold bake sales to help raise funds for charity

These locals are baking for a good cause

Fabian Loo
Written by
Fabian Loo
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For a long time, the shelves of supermarkets were constantly wiped clean. Demand for these essential products boomed as the nation hunkers down during the stay-home period. But it wasn’t toilet paper or hand sanitisers that Singaporeans were after; it was flour and other baking supplies.

With all the extra time on hand, many have turned to their oven for companionship, re-creating trendy recipes that they previously might not have had the time for. But a group of home bakers have gone one step beyond; they've turned their baking adventures into charity projects, raising funds through the sale of cakes, cookies, and more – and donating the proceeds to the needy.

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Heartfelt bakes
Photograph: @eatoutinside/ Instagram

Heartfelt bakes

They started with a simple mission: to amplify the love during Pride Month.

Childhood friends, Cheah Hui Yi and Natasha Sadiq, decided to organise a bake sale for the coming weekend, and all proceeds will go to the Relief and Resilience Fund for LGBTQ+ Persons, a campaign organised by Sayoni and Brave Spaces.

“The inspiration for Eatoutinside came about because Pride feels rather muted this year without a physical event like Pink Dot,” shares Natasha. Through their warm bakes, the pair want to spread “cheer, comfort, and solidarity”.

“We also know that LGBTQ+ organisations have a harder time accessing government funding. So no matter how big or small our contribution is, it’s going to go a long way in supporting the community,” adds Natasha.

Natasha and Hui Yi have put together three different offerings that showcase each of their signature bakes. The menu features servings of cookie bars or brownie squares, and a variety box filled with treats of lemon blueberry loaf, spiced apple streusel loaf, fudge brownie, and cookie bars.

“We want the assorted box to feel like a little bit of everything, flavour-wise, covering chocolatey, fruity, and sweet and spicy,” says Hui Yi. In keeping with social distancing rules, the duo are baking and assembling the bake boxes in their respective homes, then sending them out for deliveries or pick-ups on June 20 and 21.

Currently, Natasha and Hui Yi both hold full-time jobs, and are utilising their days off to fulfil the orders. They hope to raise $500, and have even gotten an offer to match the funds raised.

“We’re optimistic and excited,” shares Natasha. “It’s almost like a reminder to other LGBTQ+ people that we’re still here, and that we still see the community, even if we’re all behind closed doors now.”

Breaking bread
Photograph: @able.bagel/Instagram

Breaking bread

Bagels are everywhere in America, according to Whang I-Wen. And that’s where the designer first fell in love with bread. But the ones here are usually too dense or too heavy. “We tried really hard to develop a fluffier bagel,” she shares. The result? An Instagram-based bagelry, Able Bagel, that takes cues from Japanese soft bread.

While Able Bagel was first dreamt up as a professional set-up, the start of the circuit breaker meant I-Wen had “a lot more time … and a lot of space to look around and re-engage with the community and surroundings”. She saw how the situation had impacted people across the country, and decided to use Able Bagel as “a platform for giving back”.

Every week, the bagelry donates its earnings to various charities. Beyond local causes from our shores, including YWCA’s Meals-On-Wheels program and Transient Workers Count Too, Able Bagel has also supported international non-profits that include the Black Visions Collective and National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.

“It gets kind of overwhelming at the end of the week when we’re trying to make the decision, because there are just so many causes that we want to support, but don’t have the means to,” shares I-Wen. "[But] being able to build a community and having a creative outlet which doubles up as a platform to do good is enough to keep us going."

It helps that Able Bagel’s creations taste great, too. To date, the bagelry has raised over $4,000 in funds through the sale of its three unique sandwiches. Eggxtraaa, which comes layered with Japanese egg salad and housemade pickles, takes its inspiration from the classic egg sandwich that many people had growing up. There’s also the Ahh Lemak, made with coconut bagel, fried chicken cutlet, sambal chilli, ikan billis, cucumber salad, and fried egg. “It’s basically nasi lemak in bagel form,” says I-Wen. “Our sando combos are inspired by the food we had growing up … and a lot of our ideas come from childhood memories.”

“In a way, our bagel flavours have become a way for us to share all those experiences.”

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"Being able to build a community and having a creative outlet which doubles up as a platform to do good is enough to keep us going."

- Whang I-Wen, Able Bagel 

A sweet gesture
Photograph: @nuttyoat/ Denise Tan

A sweet gesture

“The goal is to just bake and give back to the community,” says Denise Tan, who started Nuttyoat. Through the sale of granola, the avid baker donates 50 percent of the proceeds to various charities that she changes every two weeks.

To date, Denise has raised over $300 across two bake sales for The Food Bank Singapore and YMCA.

“Staying at home gave me a lot more time, and I was honestly very, very upset whenever I scrolled through social media or watched the news,” shares Denise. “That’s when I decided to stop moping around feeling helpless, because, in reality, I can be of help, no matter how small [the effort].”

Prior to this, the avid baker was already making homemade granola for her family to consume in her free time. Scaling the production up and putting her bakes up for sale was a “viable” next-step. Her menu features three different flavours: chocolate, which is a personal favourite of Denise, honey cashew, and cinnamon pecan that comes with a “savoury and robust punch”.

“We’ve already got ongoing plans to donate our granola to some children’s homes in Singapore,” shares Denise on the future plans of Nuttyoat. “I don’t have a target in terms of monetary value, but definitely the goal is to just continuously bake and give back to the community,” she adds.

“No matter how small or how big the amount is, I just want to give back in whatever ways I can.”

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"I decided to stop moping around feeling helpless, because, in reality, I can be of help, no matter how small [the effort].”

- Denise Tan, Nuttyoat

Spreading love
Photograph: @cookienongster/ Instagram

Spreading love

When Nicolette Ong first started Cookie Nongster, she planned for the bake sale to close by June. But the requests kept pouring in, with many calling for her to open up more slots in July; all eager for a taste of soft, chewy cookies.

In just the first few weekends, the home baker raised some $1,400 for The Courage Fund.

The idea of selling her cookies and channelling all proceeds to charity first came to Nicolette when she was baking for her family and friends. “I have been delivering cookies to friends and family with the aim of putting a small smile on their faces during these trying months,” she shares. “The next thing I knew, a friend’s father placed an order for 120 cookies – and that’s when I thought to myself that maybe there’s an initiative for me to explore.”

The baker offers two flavours to choose from – classic chocolate chip, and an indulgent Valrhona dark chocolate. Both options come sprinkled with flaky sea salt for good measure.

“Baking has always been a hobby of mine since I was in school. It allowed me to take a breather from work during the circuit breaker period,” shares Nicolette, who works as a banker. “I wanted to try to give back in some way to the community and spread a little joy while doing something I enjoyed.”

She attributes her interest in baking to her mother and grandmother. Growing up, Nicolette would watch the two of them cook and bake in the kitchen. “Baking has been my way of always remembering the love I felt from watching them bake and cook, and eating their delicious food,” she shares.

And now, Nicolette makes batches of warm cookies and shares that same love with others.

Show your support

Eatoutinside
Photograph: @eatoutinside/ Instagram

Eatoutinside

Pre-orders are available, and deliveries will be made across Pride weekend on June 20 and 21. Choose from a box of six fudge square brownies ($24) or six chewy chocolate chip bars ($24), or grab an assorted box ($33) that features two of each bake: brownies, chocolate chip bars, lemon blueberry loaf, and spiced apple streusel loaf. Self-collection is available for those living in the East and West. 

Delivery fee $9, free for orders above $50
Order here Fill up the form here, and follow @eatoutinside for updates

Able Bagel
Photograph: @able.bagel/ Instagram

Able Bagel

Soft bagels come well-stuffed and make for a hearty meal. Beyond the Eggxtraaa ($11) and Ahh Lemak ($14), there’s also the sweet Ay, Caramble ($11) that’s made with sweet spiced apples, booze-soaked raisins, and lemon mascarpone. The bagels ($7 for two) taste great as it is too, with options of Everything bagel, cinnamon raisin, furikake, sesame, and plain. 

Delivery fee $5 to $8 with a minimum order of $30
Order here Slide into @able.bagel’s DM

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Nuttyoat
Photograph: @nuttyoat/ Instagram

Nuttyoat

Denise’s granola comes in flavours of chocolate, honey cashew, and cinnamon pecan. Each comes packed in servings of 150g ($6.90) and 500g ($18.90). 

Delivery fee From $4 for those living in the East, varies according to your location, free for orders above $50
Order here Slide into @nuttyoat’s DM 

Cookie Nongster
Photograph: @cookienongster/ Instagram

Cookie Nongster

While the cookies have been sold out for the month of June, stay updated on its Instagram page for updates from Nicolette should she decide to open up more slots. Six cookies, available in sea salt chocolate chip or sea salt Valrhona dark chocolate, go for $10. 

Delivery fee $5 with a minimum order of $20, free for orders above $50
Order here Slide into @cookienongster’s DM

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