College puts on baking bonanza

University of Otago College of Education operations manager Debbie Downs (right), college education facilitator Mal Thompson (left) and executive officer Kim Dobier prepare biscuits and other pre-Christmas treats yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
University of Otago College of Education operations manager Debbie Downs (right), college education facilitator Mal Thompson (left) and executive officer Kim Dobier prepare biscuits and other pre-Christmas treats yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.

University of Otago College of Education staff showed plenty of seasonal goodwill when they pitched in yesterday, using the college's home technology kitchen to cook batches of biscuits for several Dunedin community charities.

College operations manager Debbie Downs, who dreamed up the idea, said it had proved ''incredibly successful''. Donations of flour and other ingredients had poured in and about 30 college staff volunteers were hard at work.

After she and some other baking enthusiasts at the college came up with the idea, it had ''gone viral'', and the response from college staff far exceeded expectations.

Ingredients for the project had all been donated, and a further $220 was also provided by staff to buy more. Volunteers hd made more than 300 biscuits and other pre-Christmas treats, including Afghan bis-cuits and chocolate truffles, which today will be donated to Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women's Refuge, Otago Community Hospice and several foodbanks.

''There was a very positive vibe. The people doing it really had a good time as well.''

''It was a lot of fun.''

And it was a ''nice feeling'' to have made use of the college's modern kitchen- usually used by teacher trainees in food technology training- to provide old-fashioned home-baked treats for people who might otherwise be unable to enjoy them over Christmas.

She hoped it could become an annual pre-Christmas event.