Cake crusader up for award

Operation Sugar needs votes

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 15:55 01/09/2014
Southland Times photo
LAUREN HAYES/Fairfax NZ
SWEET: Operation Sugar founder Rachel Jenkinson takes a break from her busy schedule, after the charity was named a finalist in the Pride of New Zealand awards.

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A Balclutha charity bringing cheer to sick kids is in the running for a national award.

Operation Sugar, a non-profit group which creates custom birthday cakes for seriously ill children, was named the Community Spirit Award winner at the regional Pride of New Zealand Awards in Christchurch.

The organisation is now a finalist in the national Pride of New Zealand Awards.

Founder Rachel Jenkinson said she did not expect Operation Sugar to take out the national award, but was honoured to be included alongside so many other great causes.

The nomination had also generated a lot of exposure for the group, outside of its traditional social media base, she said.

After first opening two years ago, Operation Sugar created its 300th cake last week when three cakes were delivered to triplets in Dunedin on Saturday.

With three young children and a 30-hour-a-week job, Jenkinson manages to fit in about 20 hours of Operation Sugar work a week.

She expects this workload to grow in the next few months.

The charity now had 1000 volunteers on its books, and one future project she was considering was the development of special software to streamline things, she said.

It was also important for the organisation to strengthen its relationships with hospitals across the country.

There had been some concern about bringing cakes into hospitals, because they were not healthy.

However, birthday cake was a once-a-year treat, something children would be enjoying if they were at home, Jenkinson said.

"It's about giving these kids as much of a sense of normality as you can, because so much of that is taken away."

The Pride of New Zealand award winners will be announced at a ceremony in Auckland on September 10.

Voting for the People's Choice Award closes on September 7. Votes can be made at: prideofnzawards.co.nz/peopleschoice/

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