Offering Ovenful of Love and Cheer

Bengaluru-based entrepreneur and baker leads a community that distributes cookies and muffins to underprivileged kids.

Published: 28th April 2018 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th April 2018 01:07 PM   |  A+A-

Simran Oberoi Multani (in yellow top) with slum kids during a distribution drive

Laughter is brightest in the place where food is. Entrepreneur Simran Oberoi Multani and many other home-bakers like her are spreading this laughter on the faces of slum kids and underprivileged children across India through their home-baked muffins and cookies. In a short film uploaded recently on Facebook’s Community Voices section, scores of children can be seen running around with a ray of joy in their eyes. “A cookie cannot change their life and circumstances.

But through this little dessert—as part of the community work that the Ovenderful Moms Baker’s Community (OMBC) does for them every week—we make them feel they matter,” says Multani, the vegan baker from Bengaluru, who is the brains behind the three-year-old OMBC. Most of the members of the 22,600-member globally recognised healthy baking community are home bakers, and rest are interested in healthy baking.“We not only focus on healthy baking but also on using it for community purpose,” says the 38-year-old mother of two.

A slumkid being given a muffin

The days when they have to go for distribution are really busy. “I bake early in the morning, pack the goodies mid-morning and go for distribution in the afternoon. Weekends are for researching on recipes, reading articles, sharing updates and scheduling posts for the community,” she says. When there is no community distribution, days are marginally different. Her morning starts with responding to e-mails and recipe development work. Once she’s done with household chores, she bakes, blogs and attends conference calls. 

While the initiative has been recognised multiple times as an example of what social media should be used for, when it comes to making an impact, the biggest high so far has been when Sheryl Sandberg, the Global COO of Facebook, recognised the community in April 2017. Multani was also invited to Facebook Asia Pacific office in Singapore, as one of the influential community leaders across Asia in November 2017. 

Here is how it all started. As a young mother, Multani wanted to start off her toddler on healthy baked goodies instead of the store ones. “I was interested in using alternative flours and natural sweeteners to make desserts. So, while trying different options, I launched Ovenderful as a baking blog that captured my experiences of conducting volunteer baking classes at Search Years, an NGO in Gurgaon, in 2011. In November 2013, I focused on making it a social enterprise, a healthy baking blog and a niche e-bakery that specialised in organic bakes.

We eventually used the platform to promote healthy baking for causes such as distributions in slums/streets/informal settlements having children, and through fundraising bake sales,” she says. No fee needs to be paid for being a part of the OMBC. The only criterion is healthy baking. “The group is about human interest and memorable incidents. Though it is heart breaking to see the conditions the kids live in, it just takes one simple cupcake to make them smile,” says Multani, who is voluntarily collaborating with a pan-India food platform called Plattershare to help home-bakers get paid assignments. 


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