Administration worker Rachel Jenkinson, of Balclutha, is
behind Operation Sugar, which provides free custom-made
birthday cakes to seriously ill children. Photo by Helena
A spoonful of sugar may just help the medicine go down as
a new nationwide charity aims to bring a smile to the faces of
seriously ill youngsters.
Balclutha woman Rachel Jenkinson launched Operation Sugar two
months ago after hearing about similar projects overseas. The
cause provides free custom-made birthday cakes to seriously
ill or frequently hospitalised children.
More than 300 bakers around the country have offered to make
cakes and in the past few weeks about 50 families have
Mrs Jenkinson thought it was a "wonderful idea" and knew New
Zealanders would jump at the chance to help out fellow Kiwis.
"I love cake decorating and knew that there would be heaps of
other bakers like myself who would jump at the chance to be
able to utilise their passion for cake decorating in helping
kids and their families who are going through a rough time."
There were 10 Southland bakers along with one from Fiordland
and a handful in South and Central Otago who had offered to
make cakes for children in the region, Mrs Jenkinson said.
No Southland families had yet applied for an Operation Sugar
cake but a Gore baker would be providing a cake for Camp
Quality in Gore.
As a mother of three, Mrs Jenkinson said she could not
imagine how she would cope if one of her children became
She said a woman who had lost her child said one of her most
cherished memories was his last birthday and how thrilled he
was with his birthday cake.
"If we can bring a smile and a distraction from what some of
these families are going through on a day-to-day basis, it is
so worthwhile," she said.
People wanting contact information for Operation Sugar can go
• Rebecca Wilson is an SIT journalism student.