A 7-year-old boy living in a homeless shelter wanted an Avengers cake for his birthday. Thanks to a partnership between RTC’s Professional Baking Program and the nonprofit organization Birthday Dreams, he got his wish.
To both benefit the community and help baking students meet their requirements, Instructor Robert Holland teamed up with Birthday Dreams. The organization’s mission is to bring joy, hope and dignity to homeless children with the gift of a birthday party. It serves 90 shelters from North Bend to Lakewood. This summer, cakes made by an RTC student with supplies donated by two vendors are making kids smile on their birthdays.
“I really like that we’re doing this," said student Rose Milianta. “Plus, I get more practice in and get to do a wider spectrum of things.”
Milianta’s first cakes in her final quarter of the baking program went to Birthday Dreams. In addition to the Avengers cake, she made and decorated a Frozen cake for a 3-year-old girl and a baby’s first birthday cake.
“Decorating is my favorite thing,” Milianta said as she worked on creating delicate fondant daisies.
Tiffaney Jones, the volunteer coordinator for Birthday Dreams, was thrilled.
“Oh, you did such a good job!” she exclaimed when Milianta opened the cake boxes to reveal her creations. “They look so good I wish I could hug you!
Birthday Dreams has served more than 9,000 children, hosting parties that include activities like face painting, games, and bouncy houses. Due to COVID-19, volunteers now provide Birthdays in Box, complete with presents, decorations, and a cake specially made for each child.
“A lot of these kids have never seen their name on a cake,” Jones said. “They just light up when they see them.”
In addition to benefiting Birthday Dreams, the initiative helps students meet the requirements of their baking program with the campus bakery and catering department shut down due to COVID-19.
“This helps our students meet their outcomes,” Holland said. The partnership will continue throughout Summer Quarter and perhaps even longer.
Harbor Foods and Bakemark, which sells supplies to the baking program, donated the raw materials to produce the cakes to ensure no public funds are expended.
Bakemark Account Manager James Manchester said his company was eager to donate to the cause.
“It was no question we’d help out,” he said. “Hopefully this will make some boys and girls very happy.”