Bake Off aims to keep things sweet for CHOC in testing times

Like most other organisations, the Childhood Cancer Foundation (CHOC) has had to cancel fundraising events and temporarily close its offices nationwide amid the 21-day Covid-19 lockdown.

But CHOC has moved online to introduce a fundraising challenge that will assist its branches around the country.

Whether its a parent, law enforcement officer, nurse or teacher, CHOC is challenging South Africans to get creative and make something sweet to honour their heroes in the “Great CHOC Superhero Bake Off”.

“The Bake Off challenge is amazing as it not only raises funds for CHOC, but it is also online and can be used as a family activity during this time of lockdown,” said CHOC Eastern Cape regional manager Debbie Kleinenberg.

“All funds raised will be distributed among the regions so we will all benefit from it. With fundraising coming to a drastic halt for this time, we welcome the public’s support in any way.”

CHOC is the largest NPO working in the field of childhood cancer and provides free support services to 2,500 affected children and teenagers as well as their families every year.

Kleinenberg said the lockdown had huge implications, both financially and for CHOC’s daily operations.

“Our social worker is working from home, which comes with its own challenges as obviously all of her counselling and follow-ups are being done remotely,” said Kleinenberg.

Most staff are working remotely to ensure that affected children and families received the support they needed, but CHOC is unable to offer a number of its most cherished services during this time.

Among them are the interactive learning and play programme, the mothers’ tea and skills weekly meetings and the care bag donations.

“We’ve also had to cancel various fundraising events, many involving schools, and postpone a wonderful Come Dine With Me fundraising event which was meant to take place this week,” she said.

“Our CHOC House is closed for now. Fortunately the paediatric oncology unit [at Frere Hospital] could accommodate the patients who were not able to go home as they were either too ill or receiving radiation or chemo.” 

She said they would reassess the situation next week as the CHOC houses had been listed as an essential health service by the government.

“For the month of February the East London CHOC House had 295 bed nights. This includes accommodation, meals and daily transport to and from the hospital and  all of this is at no cost to the patient or caregiver. If it is necessary to reopen before lockdown is over, we will discuss this possibility, ” said Kleinenberg.

She said CHOC was continuing to provide transport assistance to and from hospitals for patients needing treatment.

“With no government funding and with numerous fundraising initiatives cancelled, it is extremely difficult to continue providing all of the CHOC programmes and services. However we are doing our absolute best to ensure that all children are receiving their treatment and have the funds to attend the unit and return home again afterwards,” said Kleinenberg.

To support CHOC and enter their Bake Off challenge, the first step is to donate R50 to the organisation via their website at 

Participants then need to bake anything from biscuits to cupcakes or cookies around the theme “Who is Your Superhero?”

Once all the baking is done participants need to share a picture of their creations to social media, tagging CHOC.

There are three categories, starting with a  mini  superhero category for those 12 years and under,  all the way up to a 20-years-and-over adult category.

The top three most creative concoctions in the categories will be selected by CHOC, with the public also getting to vote.

The most creative in each category will win prizes sponsored by Vodacom, the CHOC Cows and CHOC.

Kleinenberg said people could also support CHOC by donating a monthly amount via debit order or EFT.

“Trying to budget in these trying times is extremely difficult and so any form of regular income would be most welcome and assist us in so many ways,” she said.

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