ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Some of the smallest things we take for granted can mean the world to someone else. Something as simple as a birthday cake.
Cake4Kids is a non-profit organization that originally started in California. But when Mary Campbell heard about their mission, she knew she had to bring it to Northern Virginia.
"It really struck me that there are children out there that don't get birthday cakes. It struck me as a mom too, it must be awful to not be able to get your child a cake," said Campbell, who brought the organization to Virginia in 2019.
The non-profit partners with organizations that help children. They provide cakes free of cost for children on their birthday or if they are celebrating a big accomplishment. The organization started with a focus mainly on children in foster care. Over the years they have expanded to help children who are refugees, or even those in domestic violence shelters.
"Really any place where a child hasn't had the best start in life, we deliver birthday cakes to them," said Julie Eades, with the California Cake4Kids chapter.
Kate McKenzie is one of the 450 volunteer bakers in Virginia. The kids can pick out their theme and flavor and the hundreds of people who volunteer their time, execute their vision. McKenzie, who first joined the organization right before the pandemic, says the most important ingredient is love.
"They don't have to be perfect. You don't have to be a professional baker. Box mixes and sprinkle some love on top and you're going to make this kid's life very happy," she said.
For some of the children, it is the first birthday cake they have ever received. A sweet gesture that will stick with some of these kids for the rest of their lives.
"A birthday cake might feel like a luxury. Let us give you that. Let us help. These kids deserve it and it makes them smile. Everybody deserves to smile on their birthday," McKenzie said.
Cake4Kids Northern Virginia is working on expanding to Prince William County. The organization is always in need of bakers but is also looking for more organizations to partner with to be able to reach more children.