Partner Spotlight: Cake4Kids
Making Life a Bit Sweeter for the Children of Survivors
Julia Child is believed to have said “a party without a cake is just a meeting”. The amusing quote should give us pause. For most, cakes are always present when expected (and in many instances, when they are not expected!). But for many underprivileged children and those in shelters, this is hardly a certainty.
Alison Bakewell is the executive director of Cake4Kids, an organization founded by volunteers who sought to bring their baking talents to those in need. The group, which started in the Bay Area, has chapters across the United States. Nationwide, over 5,400 people volunteer their time, with over 2,200 bakers in the Bay Area alone. Since 2010, over 37,000 cakes have been baked, donated, and most importantly, enjoyed! That’s roughly nine cakes a day… a real-life Candyland.
Bakewell herself started as a baker in 2013 before moving into a leadership role, a natural transition from her prior career as a technology executive with experience in IT and operations. “I had worked with other organizations that help foster kids, so it’s a passion for me. Cake4Kids really spoke to me,” she mentions, noting that despite her name, she didn’t decorate well. “The baking isn’t that hard, it’s the decorating that’s hard!” The Cake4Kids Website showcases some of the creations – the artistic talent is evident!
Cake4Kids volunteers research local organizations, often reaching out to Human and Health Services departments within the counties they serve. In 2014, this outreach led them to Next Door Solutions, a relationship that has produced over 270 cakes to date. Bakewell notes that each of these “is not just a sweet treat on their birthday. It builds self-esteem. These kids often feel forgotten. To receive something from someone who doesn’t even know them, who took their time out of their day to do something special just for them… it makes a huge difference. It makes them feel like someone cares and that they’re worth it.”
Partner organizations sign an agreement with Cake4Kids before they can request cakes. While chocolate and vanilla are perennial favorites, organizations can select from a variety of flavors and themes, and request specific dietary adjustments. Cakes are delivered to the partner organizations to ensure the safety and privacy of everyone involved. This is a key consideration given the different conditions faced by Next Door Solutions clients.
Cake4Kids is always looking for volunteers. Their website has information for anyone wishing to volunteer as a baker.