Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Sweets: Charity Roundup

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today's Sweet comes from five cake decorators who made an extreme Christmas Tree cake for the Festival of Trees in Utah to benefit Primary Children's Medical Center. Since the cake was itself made to benefit a charity, I thought it would be a fitting way to wrap up our Charity Countdown.

As you can see, it's big. :)

Here are a few close-ups:

Love the train and wood-graining.

It's hard to believe that tiny tree trunk can hold up such a huge five-tiered cake!

Here are some details on the tree itself:


And finally, the fine bakers who made it:

That's Amelia Carbine of Frosted Fantasy Cakes, Dianne Holgate of Cakes by Dee-sign, Tara Churchill, Paula Ames of Cake Creations, and Lynn Winter of Sugar Bakers.

We finished our 14 days of giving on Christmas Eve (go here if you don't know what this is about), and I'm proud to say that together we gave a lot of money to some fantastic organizations! We haven't quite reached all of our goals, though, so if you haven't had the chance to give your dollar yet there's still time to donate!

Here are the current tallies:

Charity:Water - $12,869 raised online so far. Every $5K builds a well that serves 250 people in need of clean drinking water, so as of now 643 people will be helped thanks to your dollars! (Today is the last day to give, so let's see if we can't still reach our initial goal of $20K!)

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
- Sorry, we didn't set up a page to track these donations. But you know you gave, right? So that's all that matters.

Heifer International - $5,770 raised online so far. Again, that's over halfway to our $10K goal!

Child's Play
- since they also accept Paypal (and prefer it if the donation is more than $1), we don't have totals for Child's Play. On our First Giving page we've had $2,072 given - but again, the majority of us gave via Paypal.

Share Our Strength
- Initially featured on Day #2 of the Countdown, so a lot of you donated before we had a way of keeping a tally. (Had to switch to St. Jude because the site wouldn't accept $1 donations.) On our First Giving page now, though, we have $2,783.

Puffy Paws Kitty Haven - Another with two options to give, but we've talked to Rick & Chrissy and they reported well over $5,000 given through Paypal. So combined with the $5,186 on the FG page, that's over $10,000 - or enough to feed and house the cats for over 3 months, plus pay for the de-worming meds they needed. Thanks for helping meet some serious needs, guys!

Doctors Without Borders - $4,723 raised online so far - not quite halfway to our $10K goal.

Love 146 - $9,025 raised so far for our $10,000 goal. So close! Oh, and you must read this amazing post by founder Rob Morris on the impact your comments and dollars have had.

Habitat for Humanity - $2,090 raised so far of our $10K goal.

Operation Smile - $2,712. To put that in perspective, that's 12 kids who will now have reconstructive surgeries thanks to your generosity. If we hit our $10K goal, that would be 41 kids.

The Buckland Family Trust - The last time I spoke with Kristie, a close family friend, the Bucklands had received more than $14,000 dollars through Paypal. Awesome! Thank you for helping Amanda & her stepdaughter start to put the pieces of their lives back together.

Free the Slaves - $1,759 so far of our $10K goal. These are all great causes, guys - if you're catching up, please be sure to check them out.

To Write Love On Her Arms - $1,566 so far of our $10K goal.

Give Kids the World - $2,193 so far of our $10K goal.

Thanks again, guys!
Jenny said...

I think the charity idea is great but feel that people would have been more likely to donate if they could have made one single donation which would then be divided up evenly between all of these worthy causes. That would simplify things a lot. Maybe a suggestion for next year???

Still, a lot of money was collected and a lot of people will benefit from your commendable efforts!! Congrats!

Bryanna Lenan said...

WOW!! Awesome!! Great work... love this site.

Anonymous said...

You guys are so cool. Right on.

Leslie@leserleeslovesandhobbies said...

I love Primary Children's Medical Center! My daughter had a cranial reconstruction two years ago at that hospital on December 7th, and the nurses and staff couldn't have been better! Especially at Christmas time. We will be back on January 7th for another surgery, this time outpatient, thankfully!

Unknown said...

Jen & John,

Congratulations (is that how you spell it?) on the great charity work. In the spirit of Jen's suggestion about one big donation, could you please post the total of our contributions this year as close as you can estimate? Thanks.

I, for one, didn't mind donating numerous times, especially after I set up an account with First Giving. I also check your site every day and it reminded me to practice the virtue of generosity.

Many. happy. "wrecks" in 2010!!!

Karen said...

My my math, that's $71,748. Plus whatever went on untracked paypal. You guys should feel pretty good about yourselves. Thanks for making the giving so easy.

Connie Moreno said...

This was a wonderful, wonderful way to get thousands of people together for good causes. I couldn't donate this past week because I literally ran out of money. Normally I would have been upset but after following all of these charities, I felt BLESSED to be alive, to have a place to live, food to eat and relatives who love me. I get paid on the 30th and I will go back and make donations to all of the charities I missed - I promise. Thank you Cake Wrecks for proving that the Internet is not a place full of those lurking to do evil.

Anonymous said...

Is there any real way to track the time distribution of the giving? How much, percentage wise, was given in the first day that each charity was up?
Maybe stick with a theme--all children's charities, all animal charities, something like that? I'm trying to think of ways to improve it. I'd love it to be an annual thing.

wv: sothes. I got nothing for it though.

Shannon said...

The charity idea is great, and I will finish my missing donations as soon as I get home (I don't trust the security of my in-laws' computer). Well done for using the CakeWrecks power for good! :-)

I do have to say though that making several small donations has been a wee bit problematic for me - my bank put a hold on my card after the second donation because they don't trust transactions of such small amounts (apparently $1 is often used as a 'test' by identity theives). Anyway, I'll persevere and get my donations done...but like Jenny said above, a single larger donation would be muh easier for the readers (though maybe not for you!)

Thanks again for all your hard work with this (as well as the smiles you've given me and my hubby since I discovered you this summer!) Merry belated Christmas!

Nate's Mom said...

This has been an amazing giving opportunity. You guys are awesome!

Now, what I really want to know is how that tiny trunk holds up that tree. I know good cake decorators are geniuses, but I really curious.

Sheri in CA

Anonymous said...

I think it's wonderful to have the different kinds of charities, because one might be important to one person and a completely different kind to another person. What a fantastic idea, and you guys have done a wonderful job!

Hobbit said...

What an incredible cake!

And what an incredible site! The charity idea is a good one and bless you Jen and John for thinking of it.

Here is to a Wrecktastic New Year!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading this blog for a year and I've never commented before. but now I just wanted to say, thank you so much Jen & John for giving me a way to help people and do something beautiful this Christmas! I was gonna spend my money on silly stuff, I'm glad I didn't ♥ :)

Shauna said...

I got the see the Festival of Trees cake up close and in person and it was truly awesome! The PCMC folks do so much charitable work throughout the year for children who have real needs. Whole families are touched when services are provided to a child. It is blessing to have such a facility in our community!

Thanks for the other charitable venues to support. Keep up the good work--and the many smiles that come to us from your efforts on CW!

Anonymous said...

The charity idea is wonderful. What a great way to bring good causes to a wide range of people. I would like to suggest a charity idea for the upcoming year March for Babies. The money goes to help with research for preterm birth, stillbirth and miscarriage.

Doctor Stock said...

Love the charity idea... and what a cake! LOL... I think my oldest could polish it off in a day though.

Millie said...

LOVE this blog. Just found it (WHERE have I been? Under a rock?), and I laugh so hard I snort. HAPPY to see the charity work going on!

Rock on!

twilightlurve said...

Wow, it's amazing what you've done for all those charities!

I've had a Charity: Water campaign going on my blog, but is hasn't been anywhere close to as successful. :(

Maybe you could help us out? ;D

Blonde Librarian said...

Hi Jen, I just tried to donate @ "Charity: Water" and it's telling me that this campaign is closed. Isn't today the last day to donate? :(

Sammee said...

We go to the Festival of Trees every year and it is a tradition that was started by my parent's when I was a child. This year's trees by far surpassed the trees of last year. The pictures of the Christmas tree cake just do not do it justice. The Festival of Trees and Primary Children's go hand in hand here in Utah and I couldn't be prouder to be a lifelong supporter of both:).

smauge said...

I thought that WAS wood!!

A Paperback Writer said...

Yea for Primary Children's Hospital and the Festival of Trees!
I've never seen a cake tree there before, so this is fun.

Kat said...

Looks like Love146 made it's goal and then some as of 7pm EST tonight... :)

Saralukies said...

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your collective good deed. I haven't minded at all giving just a little bit every day. Wonderful way to maintain perspective through the holiday. Thanks again!

Ray Ray said...

Tara is a good friend of mine-what a nice surprise to see her on here! I looked so forward each day to the new charity, you should do it every day, year-round!

Carrie Stuart said...

What a great idea this has been! It was great to see old favorites (give kids the world) and find out about new ones (Love146) and be able to help someone in such immediate need as the woman who lost everything in the fire. Thanks also for featuring Primary Children's here. They treated our niece for brain cancer this past year and she's doing great! Thanks for all you guys do...especially consistently making me laugh!

Anonymous said...

We went to the Festival of Trees in Salt Lake City this year! We live in Colorado now, but we lived there for a few years and went to the Festival every year, so we made the trip back this year. All of it's amazing.

Unknown said...

Jen, you made me cry. Again.

Although, granted, generally the tears are either of laughter or my eyes are watering because of the hideous nature of the cakes. But today, it's a good crying.

I'm unemployed this holiday season, but I was able to donate a small amount to a couple of your charities. I think it was a great idea to organize your wrecky minions to do good work. (or was this a test, part of the first step on your plan to conquer the world? Ah--I'm afraid I've said too much.)

I disagree with some of the other commenters. I liked the idea of donating a small amount to a wide variety of charities that benefit a wide variety of causes. I didn't see anything wrong with saving my dollar from one day, then giving two to a charity that hit closer to home for me the next. Thank you for organizing this for us!

Thanks for todays Sunday Sweets, too. Primary Children's saved my life as a child, so I'm a big fan of theirs!

lauren said...

This charity campaign has been wonderful. I always think about the change or the dollar I give in the red buckets at this time of year, but with this campaign, I could see that my small contribution, along with many others made a big difference. I guess it's true that big changes in the world start with small changes made by individuals :)

I liked having several charities to support. Yes, I gave more to some than others, but I learned about new opportunities for giving and got to help out several different organizations that are close to my heart. My big complaint at work is that they don't give us enough spaces to give to different charities during our charitable giving campaign.

Thanks for getting us all organized so we could see the difference we made!

I'll keep up with it again next year if you keep it going!

Ashley said...

My infant received treatment for a tumor at Primary Children's throughout this past year. The doctors, nurses, staff...everyone there is AWESOME. That cake is amazing.

Congrats and thank you for raising so much money. You have done a lot of good for the world.

Sandi said...

Thank you for sponsoring the charities and giving us a chance to be a part of something bigger than all of us. I, for one, like that I could give to each charity separately because some pulled at my heart strings (and pocketbook) harder than others (although I gave at least $1 to each.) I'm glad you left the giving open a little longer since I was busy right before Christmas and didn't get to see half of the charities until today.

Please, please, PLEASE do this giving thing again next year! I agree with Carrie Stuart that it was nice to have a variety of charities--even an unofficial charity like that poor woman who lost her family and home--so we could give as we were moved to give.

I love that we can create an account at First Giving and just sign in each time. I REALLY love reading everyone else's comments along with their donation amounts at First Giving, and how it tracks the totals.

Looking forward to next year!

Allie said...

I don't say things like God Bless You because it doesn't make sense to me but in this instance it sounds like the right thing to say - God Bless Y'all! What a fantastic thing to do. Even if you didn't meet each individual goal, you raise a ton of cold hard cash in a recession with just a few words and a prompt sent out into cyberspace. YAY You Guys!

Chelsea said...

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for mentioning the Festival of Trees. PCMC is one of the Intermountain Healthcare hospitals--Intermountain has saved my daughter's life in the NICU and PCMC is where we ended up after she decided to use superglue as eyeliner. THANK YOU for mentioning this wonderful fundraiser. Also, that cake is awesome.

Unknown said...

I really, really love all the charity work that's been done throughout December. Love146 especially struck a chord with me. What an amazing charity!

I also like the concept of just giving a little something every day. However, the same thing happened to me as it did with Shannon further up here. Visa withdrew all the money from my card because they thought I was being robbed. LOL!

(I laugh now, but it was scary for a little while there XD)

providerofthebread said...

Thanks for posting all the charities! It made it really easy to donate to all of them at once. Now I can spend the rest of the day feeling all warm and fuzzy. said...

Great charity work. I love it when ridiculousness turns into charitableness.

Elizabeth C. said...

I would like to thank John and Jen for showing us that every little penny counts if everyone throws a few in!
I agree with those who suggested it be a repeat event, and that the charities should all be different. (some will donate more to one charity than another - give soemthing for everyone.)

I would also like to suggest that on the first Sunday Sweet of the Month (or whatever date), you highlight a charity. For instance -February 5th is Go Red for Women Day - raising awareness about heart disease in women. You could do a different charity based on National observances each month... Just an Idea

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Is that the Charlie-in-the-box from Rudolph I see there? With the polka-dot elephant?

Anonymous said...

I love that you did this. Way to put your huge audience to good use! I certainly hope this will become a yearly thing--next year, you'll have even more readers, and hopefully even more donors! Thanks again for doing something great. Things I thought were really effective about the way you organized this:

1) A wide variety of great charities.
2) A manageable goal--$1 is nothing, and even $14 is quite doable for most people. If you had solicited $20 or something, I'm certain that not as much money would have been raised. But even with such a low giving request, an awful lot of money was donated.
3) Updating us readers about how much was raised. It was exciting to see the progress.

Merry Christmas and a Happy, Horribly Frosted New Year to you both.


Anonymous said...

P.S. Got your book for Christmas. LOVE IT! (Wasn't surprised by that though.) We were snowbound for several days, and the book made the rounds throughout our snowbound group.


Christina said...

Thank you for the opportunity! I came to CakeWrecks last week to laugh while waiting for the short work week to be over. I had mostly managed to ignore the charity requests, mostly because I give locally. However, the story of the Bucklands literally took my breath away. I can't imagine what that would ever be like, so I popped over.

Destinie said...

I do believe that the jack in the box is actually a Charlie-In-The-Box from Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer!!! Do yall remember him??

Kat said...

Wonderful idea about the charities, guys; thank you for seeing it through! I have to say though - I'm pretty disheartened to see the cat charity coming out ahead of all these incredibly important and worthy charities for people. What's with some people's priorities?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sora said...

I think the way this was done was great. You picked a wide variety of causes to support so it gave everyone a chance of supporting a charity that means something to them personally. Also, according to the Love146 page, the set goal has been surpassed.

J said...

Jen & John:

I can't thank you enough for featuring To Write Love on Her Arms as one of your charities. I had suggested them when you asked for charities, but I never really thought you would feature them.

In January of 2005, my 14 year old cousin shot herself in the head. She died when her parents unplugged the life support machines the next day. TWLOHA is a charity that my family wholeheartedly supports, and we all took part in the recent TWLOHA Day (where we literally wrote love on our arms).

You raising money for TWLOHA means more to me than you could ever possibly imagine...I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.


sam said...


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank you for doing this for your readers and more so, for those who need our support.

You actually inspired me to start a blog for those looking to donate, to contribute, to make a difference no matter how big or small, no matter what the day.

Here is the URL:

I'm posting a little about various organizations (charities, groups in need of volunteers and/or donations) each day.

By the way, whether or not you both realize it, this blog helps a lot of us laugh so easily when it sometimes seems a little hard to, so thank you.

Melissa (& Billy) said...

@Anonymous--re: Puffy Paws--You know, I have to disagree. When people are cruel to animals, cruelty to humans isn't far behind. Hopefully the opposite is also true--charity to animals means that charity to humans is not far behind.

I sometimes feel overwhelmed by being only one person in a sea of needy folks. This 'charity countdown' really gave me a sense of empowerment. In the words of Helen Keller: "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I will not refuse to do something I can do."

flybigd said...

So happy to see that today (1/5/2010) that we raised over $11K for Love146! Wow! I couldn't *not* donate to this cause--and looking over the amounts, seems like most people gave way more than $1. So nice of them to blog about Cake Wrecks and how we lifted them up. Way to go J & J!!

Nifty Nappy Cloth Diapers said...

That's my sister! Amelia she is awesome! :) Way to go sis!

donate car said...

This was an awesome and wonderful idea to get thousands of people together for good causes. This yuletide seasons we have to give something to help the community.