SZENTENDRE, Hungary — Hungarians are baking for ambulance workers across the country coping with a new surge in COVID-19 infections after the founder of an online cookery group asked a friend in the service how she could help.

“Before I could finish she said ‘oh we would love some cakes’,” Eszter Harmath said of the conversation that launched the nationwide movement.

“They often do rounds dressed in full protective gear and they can hardly sit down to eat in a normal way but the cakes are something they can take on the road.”

The initiative, born out of a modest kitchen in the small town of Szentendre, mirrors other efforts around the world where people have made face masks and hung them on trees or prepared hot meals for people struggling to make ends meet.

“It is not a shiny and perfect kitchen and I often cook with my son Gellert on my back,” Harmath said, her son watching eagerly as she kneaded dough for cheese scones. Her “My Quarantine Kitchen” Facebook group now has 8,000 members, who exchange ideas and recipes that are not confined to baking.

Eszter Harmath making pastries while holding her son Gellert.REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

“There have been some incredibly nice stories, it has been really heart-warming,” Harmath said, while also preparing cinnamon rolls for the ambulance workers, who face extra pressure in the coming days.

COVID-19 infections are expected to rise “drastically” in the next two weeks, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday when the daily tally rose to 4,668 cases, the highest this year.

“People are filled with good intentions to help but often can’t find a suitable way to do it,” Harmath said.

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