By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
“Every child deserves to have a birthday cake,” said Bev Brauer, director of religious education for Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Lost Nation. Yet, some families experiencing financial hardships are unable to afford a cake or the ingredients to bake one at home, she said.
Cake mix, sprinkles, frosting and candles rarely appear on the shelves of the Lost Nation Food Pantry, according to board member Ruth Schau, also a member of the Lost Nation parish. They simply aren’t the daily staples that financially strapped families need most.
To help make birthdays a little sweeter for area children in need, the confirmation students in Lost Nation and the Oxford Junction parish organized a birthday cake kit drive during Advent. Tying it in with the birth of Jesus and the Epiphany, they decorated large donation boxes with wrapping paper and placed them in the Lost Nation, Toronto and Oxford Junction churches. They asked parishioners to donate items that would help provide children with a special birthday treat. “The kids were really excited about it. It was something they hadn’t done before,” Brauer said.
Parishioners were responsive, donating enough materials for more than 50 birthday cake kits. Earlier this month, the confirmation students, as well as the younger religious education students, put the kits together. Each contained one box of cake mix, one tub of frosting and other items that were available, including candles, napkins and cards.
Brauer said it was heartwarming to see the younger students thoughtfully arrange the items. “It was so cute. We had the cake mixes and everything spread out and those little kids thought and thought about what frosting to put with what cake mix. They really put some effort and time into it.”
The 50-plus birthday cake kits were donated to the Lost Nation Food Pantry, Wheatland Referral Center and the Wyoming, Iowa, food pantry.
Schau looks forward to seeing the food pantry patrons picking out birthday cake kits for their children. “They’re a nice addition, a nice little gesture to someone. …kids are kids.”