Bringing "just joy"

Dot McCullough, 82 years young, is the Supervisor for the Gisborne Care and Craft Centre where she has volunteered for more than 33 years. The Gisborne Care and Craft Centre is a volunteer-led non-profit organisation that caters for disabled, elderly and unwell people. Dot and her team of volunteers gather every Tuesday from 9.30am to 2pm in St Andrews Church Hall to provide companionship and facilitate social interaction in a friendly caring environment.

Two people cutting a green, white and gold iced rectangular cake.

Dot (standing) and Ralph (seated) at Gisborne Care and Craft’s 35th birthday

Dot summarises their get-togethers as follows: “We pick up our guests, take them to the Hall, give them morning tea, do crafts, play games, have a speaker, have a hot meal, and if it is someone’s birthday, we have a bit of a party at lunch time.”

Good Bitches Baking has been providing baking to the Gisborne Care and Craft Centre on a weekly basis for three years and, over this time, has built quite the rapport with Dot, the other volunteers and the clients. Our Good Bitches are typically welcomed “with a cheery wave and smile [and] shouts of laughter”. Sarah Punnett, Gisborne’s Head Bitch, says it’s “the best place to deliver baking to. They are so happy to see you and you normally get a hug”.

It is a source of some excitement for Gisborne Care and Craft Centre’s clients to see “the different things” our GBs bring. Dot often catches them “surreptitiously sneaking a look at the meal table during the morning and murmuring amongst themselves as to what is there, thinking that the helpers are not noticing”. The baking is always well received, typically eliciting “noises of enjoyment”, as well as “requests for leftovers [and] the recipe”. Dot comments that the baking also “takes a load off our hands,” easing some of the pressure on the kitchen folk who are tasked with making meals for the occasion.

When asked as to Gisborne Care and Craft Centre’s experience with GBB, Dot replies, “Just joy.”