Birthday cakes for free: Pay it Forward

Birthday Cakes for Free Linn County

Placing the finishing touches on a music and art inspired birthday cake, Patricia Vandersee knows this cake is more than just icing. It is a celebration of a young boy named Alexander. A boy she will never meet, but his special day will be made brighter because of this cake.

Patricia has been the chapter organizer for Birthday Cakes for Free Linn County since 2013. She knows a birthday cake is a way to show someone you care. She makes birthday cakes for her grandchildren and thought there has got to be kids out there that need a special cake. She found the Birthday Cakes for Free organization based out of Santa Cruz, California and started a chapter in Linn County.

She wants to be clear, although it would be nice, she is not able to make cakes for anyone who calls her and needs one. She partners with several local agencies like Tanager Place and Meals on Wheels.

Patricia has a full time job. When she gets home in the evening she spends time planning and organizing. She and her 32 volunteers made 500 cakes last year.

Yvonne Nordverg-Bloome works at Tanager Place and said the cakes mean everything to the kids who receive them. "When you are five or six and you don't have a cake or just something to celebrate your birthday and know you are special. To know you are important. It can be really sad. So they just make sure these kids are noticed and appreciated and know they are special."

One way they make the birthday boy or girl feel even more special is to decorate the cake with their unique interests. When agencies request a cake they tell Patricia the recipients favorite colors, what flavor cake they want and what theme they would like.

The employees at Tanager Place call Patricia and her volunteers "cake angels." "Their the little angels for the kiddos. There's kids we work with that might not have been able to get a cake at all. We work with kiddos in foster care and kids that might not have parents that can provide something like that for them."

The volunteers pay for every cake out of their own pocket. If you would like to donate to help make the cakes visit their Facebook page: Birthday Cakes for Free Linn County

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