A spoonful of sugar, or perhaps a few cups, could help put smiles on the faces of seriously ill children, with local bakers volunteering to bake them birthday cakes.
Operation Sugar is a new nationwide non-profit charity which gets willing bakers to donate a custom cake to seriously ill children or children who require frequent hospitalisation.
Bakers from around the county sign up and offer their time and skills to bake a cake per year for a child in their region.
Charity founder Rachel Jenkinson, from Balclutha, said the idea was not new, but it was the first time it had been done in New Zealand.
Ms Jenkinson said so far there were four registered bakers in the Nelson-Tasman region.
Nelson baker Rosie James, who owns Popalicious, said she signed up with Operation Sugar as soon as she heard about it.
"A message popped up on Facebook, I thought that it was a great way to get involved with helping people."
As a nurse, Mrs James said she had background history with seriously ill children, but there was no particular personal connection to the cause.
It was just a good way to put her skills to use and help other people, she said.
So far there had been no requests for cakes here, but Ms Jenkinson said she hoped that would change because all the bakers were enthusiastic.
As the mother of three children, she couldn't imagine being in the position some of the families were in, she said.
Though the charity has only been running for two months, there were already about 300 bakers who had signed up. They had already made one cake for a young boy in Wellington, and had six orders for November.
"[The success so far] is bittersweet. It's kind of great, but it's kind of horrible because you think ‘Oh god, there's another sick child'. It's heartbreaking what people are going through."
To find out more about becoming a baker, or to request a cake, visit operationsugar.org.nz.
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