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Free cakes

Cakes for Kids delivers the goods from DuPont

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When I was a kid the moms in my neighborhood had the same birthday game plan: eight friends, pin the tail on the donkey, a nut cup, and a lopsided Duncan Hines cake. And no one worried about spills because the décor of the 1970s matched the Kool-Aid colors. We lacked jump houses, Charlie Safaris and laser tag back then, and yet no one felt they needed more as long as that cake (and the presents of course) showed.

Despite the elaborate nature of parties today, birthdays at the simplest level remain a “basic” rite of passage for children — the cake still the part that receives the most fanfare (with its classic song, lighted candles and ta-da presentation). And, just like 30 years ago, every candle blown out on a cake in the 21st century gets reviewed and processed for decades to come in the minds of all birthday boys and girls.

More than flour and water, a birthday cake represents tradition, security, celebration and love. And yet, not to sound all “Feed the Children-ish,” but not every child has a wish to count on via the magic of candle telepathy. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, and for some kids, they get neither. Until Toni Poulos, that is, decided to do something about it.

The Trenton, Ga., resident started Cakes for Kids ( in 2008 to provide, on the honor system, cakes for the asking. Parents stressed out, broke, (even lazy I suppose) may request a cake from her organization, which has since baked into more than 11 chapters nationwide.

In the South Sound, Mischelle Devine-Nunner started Free Cakes for Kids South Sound from her home in DuPont. She saw a write-up on Poulos in People magazine while vacationing in Mexico and practically started her South Sound chapter before she landed back in the States.

“My husband and I had been talking about doing something to serve our community — when I read about Toni I knew this was it,” Devine-Nunner says. “I love to cook and especially bake.”

Devine-Nunner stables 11 bakers in her group stretching from Bellingham to Vancouver, Wash. They not only provide cakes to foster families, women’s shelters and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but on a case-by-case basis serve children close to home.

Dec. 23, Devine-Nunner came to the rescue of a family with car problems.

“Their van broke down and the parents needed to spend their money getting the vehicle working so the dad could get to work,” she says. “Every dime for Christmas and their 4-year-old’s birthday went into fixing that van.”

Devine-Nunner delivered a cake with a Hot Wheel car on top for this family’s son on his birthday.

“A birthday cake is special,” she says. “It’s just for that person — it’s something personal.”

Those requesting a cake, wanting to donate money or supplies, or wishing to join the baking team may communicate with Devine-Nunner via the group’s Web site at

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