SAN JOSE; Calif. -- A small group of San Jose home bakers are whipping up baked goods for a good cause.
"I think a lot of people are actually striving to find little bits of joy around to maintain their sanity," said Catherine Vo, Owner of MuchJoy Bakehouse. "I think that really helped cheer people up. Being able to bring joy to people through something that is just like really simple has been very rewarding."
The three bakers connected on Instagram and their baked goods brought them together in a serendipitous encounter.
"We're both located in San Jose and became friends very quickly," said Vo. "I am so happy to have found Amanda and Noelle. We have like very similar interests and values."
During the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, Stop Asian Hate, advocacy group, has reported a surge in discrimination and hate crimes towards the Asian community. In their latest report, 6,603 incidents have been reported from March 19th, 2020 to March 31, 2021 throughout the U.S.
"In this last past year, we have seen a lot of hate crimes actually occur against Asian American communities," said Noelle Boesenberg, Owner of Therapy Baking. "We have seen it locally and we have seen it throughout the country, but really the last straw was what happened in Atlanta."
In mid-March, eight people were killed in three separate shootings at spas in Atlanta. Six of the victims were Asian women.
"That really made me feel overwhelmed with sadness and grief, and loss, and anger," said Boesenberg. "I didn't have financial resources to do it, but what I did have was the ability to bring people together to raise funds for an organization that would help fight what was going on."
In collaboration with a local cafe, the bakers hosted a pop-up shop or offered online orders and delivery to sell their baked goods. Each baker donated a percentage of their earnings to Asian Law Alliance in San Jose.
Asian Law Alliance is a San Jose based nonprofit that aims to provide legal counseling and community education to the Asian community and all low-income residents in Silicon Valley.
"It has been really great to find an organization like that that exists locally here in San Jose," said Boesenberg. "We are just really grateful to be able to do it. A lot of people have been very supportive of it."
The three bakers have raised close to $1,500 for the Asian Law Alliance.
"I think we are very grateful to have each other to lean on," said Boesenberg. "Hopefully we are in a cusp of change for our country. I think it is important for me to do this because I just feel a sense of responsibility for my community. I can't sit here and see people getting attacked and not do anything about it."
Therapy Baking will be hosting an upcoming pop-up shop on June 5th at Paper Moon Cafe in San Jose.
To donate to Asian Law Alliance, visit their website.