My grandma used to bake a lot. It was her way of showing love. I was always watching her.
I think with my whole family, sharing food was always something we did. I’m German-Hungarian. I grew up in Germany.
I love having friends over and baking something for them.
I think that’s why Consider it Cakes started as well, because in general, I grew up going to the kitchen, baking something for someone and making them feel special. I think that’s a very nice feeling.
My boyfriend is Irish. We met in Germany and I moved over here to Dublin about two years ago. So seven or eight months before Consider it Cakes began.
It all started during COVID, when we were all at home. I love baking, I’m not a professional baker or anything, but then I started baking a lot.
We had so many baked goods at home that my boyfriend said I would have to slow down with the baking. I was like, “How can I still bake and maybe do something nice for someone?”
At that time direct provision was very prominent in the news. Then I thought, “This is the perfect way for me to bake and do something for someone who really needs to be cheered up”, – bake birthday cakes for people in direct provision.
It’s super funny, I never thought it would get this big. I got in touch with someone who was active in raising awareness about direct provision.
He put me in touch with management in the centres. To start, by myself I baked a lot to raise awareness.
Then one week I had three requests. It was great, but it was a lot. I was alone and I had a full-time job, I didn’t have the capacity to bake three cakes a week. I put it up on Instagram and so many people reached out. It grew from there.
It started in Dublin, I never thought it was going to go outside Dublin. But then we had so many people from other areas, that we just kept expanding. Now we cover 16 areas across Ireland, from Kerry to Wicklow and Laois.
Last week we opened up to Clare.
We basically cover almost everywhere, because if we don’t cover an area officially, I still have a volunteer list of people who want to bake where we don’t officially cover the area.
We have over 500 bakers. Myself and three others co-ordinate the requests for the different areas. We have amazing contacts in the centres. They usually gather the birthday requests at the beginning of the month and give the coordinators all of the important information.
We have local WhatsApp groups for the bakers in each of the 16 areas. We just put the requests up and the people can decide if they want to do it or not. It’s a very flexible way to volunteer, there’s no amount of cakes you need to do in a month.
Like everyone else involved, I do this in my spare time. I work in marketing and I’m doing my master’s at the moment. There’s a lot going on, but I love it.
A warm welcome
Most of the bakers deliver the cake themselves, because it’s just the best feeling. It’s a win-win. It’s obviously really nice for people to receive the cake, but it’s so nice for the bakers as well.
We do cakes for adults and kids. We’ve also started working with homeless people and different charities. For instance, in Dublin, every second week we are distributing baked goods to the homeless.
The birthday cakes, it’s so much more, because if you are living in direct provision, it’s really hard to become a part of the community, especially now with the whole COVID situation.
It’s really nice for them to feel welcome as well. They feel, actually someone in this country cares for me and they made me a birthday cake just to make me feel special.
It’s just a cake for us, but for them it might be so much more. It’s a symbol of welcome to someone who is here in Ireland.
I know cakes aren’t the most important thing and they are not solving any problems in direct provision, but I feel like if you can make one person happy for one day or make them feel special when they receive a cake, that makes a big difference.
For me as well, it was really nice, because I moved to Ireland and I didn’t have that many friends
Obviously they have bigger problems, but it’s nice that we can spread some happiness. It might be a really nice memory for the person who gets the cake.
For me as well, it was really nice, because I moved to Ireland and I didn’t have that many friends. I wasn’t that much a part of the community. I had met people in work, but outside of that I didn’t really meet a lot of new people.
Alone I could not do any of this, except bake one cake a week
It was really nice to get to know all of these people who had the same interest as me. Now I can say, one of my best friends here in Ireland I met through this initiative.
It’s crazy how big it turned out and I’m so happy I did it. Alone I could not do any of this, except bake one cake a week. Every day now there’s a cake and multiple cakes on some days.