While most children spend their weekend resting and recharging before a busy week at school, Gwen Gravina spends her free time in the run-up to Easter delivering figolli she made in aid of Puttinu Cares.

An initiative she started with 100 figolli four years ago, Gwen hopes this year she will make some 800 Easter treats which she prepares from scratch and bakes at home with her mother Molly.

The 11-year-old is a keen cook: “I’ve always been curious about cooking, with my mum involving me in her baking from when I was a toddler.

“During COVID, when we were all locked indoors, I joined a Facebook group meant to inspire children about different things they could do at home. I shared my love for cooking and baking tips with the group, and the members suggested I set up my own page.”

Four years on, Gwen’s Cooking Club Facebook page has over 18,000 followers, and the girl has published two cooking books. Together with her mother, she often posts videos of recipes.

Gwen Gravina waiting for another batch of figolli to bake.Gwen Gravina waiting for another batch of figolli to bake.

When she first set up her page, Gwen realised that one of her youngest followers – a two-year-old girl – was ill and was being supported by Puttinu Cares.

So when Gwen’s parents Molly and Jean explained to the seven-year-old the aim behind Puttinu Cares and the charity’s efforts at providing care and support to cancer patients including accommodation in the UK, she knew what she had to do.

That year, she sold 100 figolli in aid of Puttinu.

Frozen dough with which Gwen makes her batches of figolli.Frozen dough with which Gwen makes her batches of figolli.

Four years on, the waiting list continues to grow and she is hoping to at least fulfil 800 orders in the six weeks before Easter.

“Every day, once I get home from school or extracurricular activities, I set about finishing my homework and then work on the figolli.

"It’s an everyday task. But any tiredness I have disappears once I set foot in the kitchen… especially when I remember who will ultimately benefit from all the kneading, rolling, freezing and baking.”

In between one delivery and another, Gwen tells Times of Malta that the figolli are homemade in batches, as space in her parents’ kitchen in limited.

All the ingredients and items used to make the figolli – except for the utility bills and fuel consumed for deliveries – are sponsored, meaning all profits from the figolli, which sell at €6 each, can go towards Puttinu. Last year, Gwen raised €4,200 in aid of the charity.

Gwen’s Puttinu Cares initiative is supported by Lamb Brand, What’s in Store, Insev, Foster Clarks, Crosscraft and Bubble Shop Birżebbuġa

Gwen delivering some of her figolli orders.Gwen delivering some of her figolli orders.

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