In 2012, as My 31st birthday approached I found that I was a little humbug about my birthday. Birthdays as a kid are something you look forward to and plan for almost all year. For adults, birthdays often turn into just another day and I didn’t want my birthday to turn in to just another day. Inspired by my friend Kate (who now runs the Naperville chapter of Let Them Eat Cake) who did a food drive on her birthday, I decided to ask for supplies to create “birthday kits”. I know that in my community not every child gets to have the joy of celebrating his/her birthday. When families do not have enough food on the table, birthdays take a backseat to basic needs. I wanted every kid in my neighborhood to have an amazing birthday celebration, so I started collecting invitations, food plates, cake plates, napkins, cups, cake mix, frosting, candles, cookies, candy, treat bags, decorations and Girl Scout cookies.
At first my goal was to have enough donations to create the same number of kits as years I was celebrating to give to Keystone Community Services Food Shelf. I exceeded that first goal, and collected enough donations for 36 bags. This soon became a small organization called “Let Them Eat Cake”.
Let Them Eat Cake has grown in huge ways as I began to see the impact of the birthday kits. Last year, the goal was to hit 200 for my 35th birthday and we ended up with 305! I take donations from area businesses and organizations in the Twin Cities and store the goodies in my basement. Since that first year, LTEC has created over 500 birthday bags, collected over 2,000 dollars (to create and give bags), and over 1,000 pounds of food.
It started with just me, donating my birthday, and has become so much more. Through this project I get to witness the very best acts of kindness. I come to work to bags of cake mix and frosting on my desk, perfect strangers hear about LTEC through a friend, and donate on the GoFundMe page, people contact me about donating birthday bags in honor of, or in memory of lost loved ones. I Was hoping to make the world just a little bit better with this project, and was not expecting the outpouring of kindnesses over the last 6 years.
Our goal this year is 365 bags, one birthday for every day of the year! Because birthdays are a big deal.