When I was seeking greater community involvement and a way to give back to my hometown, my Mom suggested a program created by the Bainbridge Island Helpline House called “Project Happy Birthday”. This was a perfect idea! I love to bake, and what better than for birthday celebrations! I signed up to be on an email list for a birthday cake request and waited. It wasn’t long before the first one came through from the Airi Lowe, the coordinator of “Project Happy Birthday”.
I am one of a group who are on a list of bakers to make cakes for children who might otherwise go without on their special day. This project is a way to provide every child a cake on his or her birthday, no matter the hardship. Each child gets to request specifically the type of cake, type of frosting, a theme, a color, allergy or diet restrictions and for the number of guests who will be eating cake. My latest one coming up in a week is specifically for a two year old girl and the cake will be lemon with pink frosting.
I have done several cakes per year through this program-each uniquely crafted and a time consuming source of joy to make. Although I never meet the child, I imagine one look at their cake and they know they are special and cared about. Besides baking as a favorite pastime of mine, and relaxing activity, perhaps the value of a birthday cake comes from my own memory back when I turned four. I requested a “pink cake” be made by my Grandma Hazel, who I was visiting. I arrived after a long flight from the west coast to the east coast. I will never forget the tall angel food cake, draped with soft, pink icing. I was deliriously tired, yet my eyes must have sparkled as I looked at the beautiful cake made especially in my honor. I may have not blown out all the candles in one breath but it didn’t matter to me–my wish had been already been granted in the form of the cake in front of me.
The Helpline House is a vital part of the community. “Project Happy Birthday” is one of many programs they have and happens to be one that resonates with me so I’m thrilled to be a volunteer baker and make a child’s special day that much brighter. To think it might make a memorable moment as my “pink cake” did for me on my fourth birthday is worth every minute spent contributing to this cause.
For more information, www.helplinehouse.org