A charity with a difference
Founded in 2017, The Sweetest Gift aims to change lives, promote social inclusion, and provide a stimulating and understanding work environment for transplant recipients and those living with chronic illness. There is no other charity in Australia supporting these people in this way.
We surveyed nearly 300 transplant recipients and people with chronic illnesses who told us about their work and study lives. It wasn't sunshine and roses. In fact, some of it was downright heartbreaking - reading that people had been let go because they were "slacking off under the guise of a medical appointment” or being told at an interview "oh, we don't want someone who's always sick here - it'll bring the team down!". In fact, almost 90% of our respondents said that they wouldn't disclose their illness because of what had been said to them in the past.
The rest rely on family for financial support.
A handful of those surveyed scratched the surface of a much more insidious issue which goes hand in hand with chronic illness - that of social isolation. Loneliness is an increasing problem in today's general population, and for the chronically ill - being unwell is isolating. And it hurts.
The Sweetest Gift of all
The Sweetest Gift Dessert Bar isn't just employing people. It's employing people who otherwise struggle to maintain stable employment because of the changing and sometimes unpredictable nature of their health. It's giving transplant recipients and people with chronic illnesses the flexibility, support, and understanding that they need to work - because they are capable of working, whether that be for a few hours in a day, or a few days a week.
The dessert bar will employ people across a diverse range of roles and disciplines to suit as many people's existing skills and talents as possible, and because we understand that not everyone wants to bake or serve customers.
We want our staff to do the best work that they can in the best way that they can, and we'll also have several key staff members who are not within the transplant recipient or chronic illness group to ensure the smooth running of the restaurant at all times.
Just imagine, after years of having to rely on family for financial support, knowing that a workplace existed where your unique circumstances were not only acknowledged, but accepted and embraced - where you could work and break the monotony of being "stuck" at home, and contribute financially to yourself or to your family - that's what we're aiming for.
We’re delighted to announce that we have launched a pop up dessert restaurant at City Tattersalls Club, Sydney. Read more about our dessert popup.
About our founder
The Sweetest Gift is headed by Patricia Scheetz, herself both a chronic illness warrior and transplant recipient, having received a kidney and pancreas transplant in 2011 after battling with type 1 diabetes since birth and many of the disease's insidious complications since her early 20's.
Patricia is a qualified pastry chef, and discovered her passion for baking whilst recovering from her transplant surgery, fast forward several years and this passion catapulted Patricia onto Australian TV as a contestant in 2016 on Zumbo's Just Desserts, which now airs on Netflix.
Discovering her life's purpose to help people in similar situations to her own came after realising that her dream of running her own dessert restaurant would be that much sweeter if she could support people just like herself, so that they didn't have to go through the same employment struggles that she had been forced to, and so The Sweetest Gift was born.