Kind hearts and Coronavirus
Julie Baxter is a force for good. There’s no other way to describe her. if there’s a good cause in the Friendliest Port, you can bet she’ll be involved somewhere along the line. She also loves to bake. And with the Coronavirus pandemic forcing us all to isolate and withdraw, this proved an opportunity for her kindness to blossom.
What started out as a request from a stranger to do a bit of shopping for some elderly relatives in Amble, has seen Julie transformed into the baking equivalent of the Easter bunny.
“At the beginning of the virus I got a message from a stranger saying her parents were in isolation [in Amble], but she couldn’t help because she lived in Ireland. She asked if I could do some food shopping for them. So I went around the shops to try and get some stuff they needed. It broke my heart when I got there and they were elderly and worried. I ring them every few days now to see if they’re ok and if there’s anything they need.”
And that was just the beginning. Julie is now providing a ‘knock and drop’ service for other older people who have asked for her help. But not content with this amazing gesture of goodwill, Julie has also started baking and adding free homemade goodies to her deliveries.
“About three weeks ago after I started dropping shopping off, I started to leave scones and cakes, to make them smile. And they do smile, although there has been a few tears in the beginning. They are just so happy to see someone, even just for a wave through the window, and some blow me kisses!”
Julie shops regularly for people she knows in the Amble area, and recently offered free cake to her neighbours in Hauxley. She estimates that she’s managed to leave scones and cakes for between 40-50 people. She pays for all the ingredients herself, although a friend sent her some money recently which she used, and others have given sugar and flour and eggs for which she is very grateful. “I really want to thank Donna Belisle for sugar and eggs which I found hard getting supplies, and Val Connell who gave me some face masks.”
The goods are left on people’s doorsteps and Julie (clad in mask, plastic gloves and apron) knocks on the door, then moves away.
For Julie, helping others is part of her DNA, and she vows to continue for as long as it takes. “I love baking and I love helping people. I lost my Mam when I was 14 and I would hate to think someone would not have helped her in these awful days.”