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Charity needs help providing free specialty birthday cakes for sick, poor area children

Children’s birthdays are special, and one central Kentucky nonprofit wants to provide a special birthday cake for children whose families can’t afford one.

Sweet Blessings is a nonprofit organization creating specialty birthday cakes for children ages 4 to 17 who are facing a life-threatening illness or poverty. In 2016 Sweet Blessings served  2,215 children in central Kentucky. Each birthday cake is handcrafted in a special shape or design made especially for that child.

To celebrate Sweet Blessings’ own birthday in February, a one-day volunteer “bake-a-thon” event is scheduled for Feb. 28. The bake-a-thon is a unique volunteering opportunity.

“We know there are so many people who would love to volunteer, but they hesitate doing so because they don’t know how to decorate. If they can use a cookie cutter, we can teach them how to make an amazing birthday cake,” said Ashley Gann, founder and executive director of Sweet Blessings. “We love seeing someone volunteer one time, or however often they want.”

Anyone who wants to volunteer, and have fun while doing so, is invited to Sweet Blessings’ all-day bake-a-thon on Tuesday, Feb. 28. To celebrate the sixth anniversary of Sweet Blessings (the first cake was delivered on Feb. 26, 2011), volunteers will bake, make and decorate a goal of 200 birthday cakes in one day for children in need. The bake-a-thon takes place at Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church (180 E. Maxwell St. in downtown Lexington) beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28 and continuing through the night until the last cake is finished, which could take up to 24 hours.

The birthday cakes will be delivered the morning of Wednesday, March 1.

The inaugural bake-a-thon in 2012 lasted 24 hours and produced 28 cakes; volunteers at the February 2013 bake-a-thon created 50 cakes. In 2014, 55 cakes were made in just over 12 hours. In 2015, production almost doubled for a total of 102 cakes. For 2016, volunteers created 114 cakes.

All cakes are made by volunteers. No experience is necessary. Volunteers are needed to bake and decorate the birthday cakes, as well as wash dishes and clean up afterward, help out with organizing supplies and ingredients in the kitchen, box up the cakes, transport cakes by car, provide moral support and spread the word on social media.

Anyone interested in participating in the bake-a-thon can sign up for a time slot through a link in the “Volunteer for the 6th annual bake-a-thon”

section of the home page, www.sweetblessingscakes.org, or contact Ashley Gann at ashley@sweetblessingscakes.org.

Individuals and businesses are also invited to sponsor a Sweet Blessings cake any time of the year with a $50 donation at sweetblessingscakes.org/donations.

Also planned for 2017 is the sixth annual “Great Cake Race” 5K/1-mile fun walk on Sunday, May 7 at Keeneland to benefit Sweet Blessings.

Find this story on page 5 of the February 2017 edition of the Hamburg Journal.

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