Thursday, May 16th, 2013
No matter how health-conscious you are or what diet you’re on, there are times when you just can’t pass on dessert.
When it comes to Sandra Lee’s pineapple-passion-fruit cupcakes, Guy Fieri’s caramel apple bread pudding, and Buddy Valastro’s Italian butter cookies, I can’t think of a single reason to say no.
On May 1, I perused the World’s Largest Bake Sale at Grand Central Station, sampling sweets, meeting local bakers, but most importantly, learning about child hunger in America.
Sponsored by the Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, the bake sale raised both money for the cause and awareness for the more than 16 million children affected by hunger in America.
I chatted with of New York City’s best bakers and browsed their selection of champagne cupcakes, pistachio-cherry scones, and peanut-butter-strawberry-jam doughnuts. All sweets were sold for $5, the proceeds from which were put toward the campaign.
Bake sale host Sandra Lee whipped up her favorite strawberry shortcake and banana split cupcakes for the event, and spoke to me about the urgency of the child hunger epidemic.
“Some working moms are going home with one check, paying rent, and wondering how they are going to feed their kids. Sometimes they have to choose between paying bills and food,” she said. “It shouldn’t be that way in America.”
Buddy Valastro, the “Cake Boss,” said that as a baker and a father, he just had to be part of the event. He also shared with me a personal story about his family history.
“My dad grew up in Sicily and I remember him telling stories of going to bed hungry, after sharing one plate with his family,” he said. “It really puts life in perspective. This is about more than raising money, it’s about saying, ‘Hey, America, this is happening!’”
Ty Pennington, former host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, expressed a personal connection to the cause and donated a colorful, handmade bake sale stand for the Share Our Strength Auction.
“I may not have a child of my own, per se, but it is staggering to hear that one in five kids goes hungry,” he said. “It really opens your eyes about not wasting as much and makes you think about what we can do to make sure they are fed.”
The Share Our Strength Auction for No Kid Hungry runs through May 31 and features items donated by food masters like Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse. This is your chance to take a class in the Cake Boss’s kitchen, dig in to Bobby Flay’s signature Southwestern dishes, or learn to swirl icing like New York’s iconic Magnolia Bakery.
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auction, bake sale, baking, Buddy Valastro, Cake Boss, charity, child hunger, children, Family, fundraiser, Grand Central, No Kid Hungry, Sandra Lee, share our strength, Ty Pennington, World's Largest Bake Sale | Categories:
Monday, April 29th, 2013
As parents we understand a love too deep for words to capture;
a love so immense, it physically hurts sometimes. We know what it feels like to forget about our own fears to protect our children. But every year, thousands of children face a battle that their parents cannot fight for them.
“I vowed, as all fathers do, to protect my child at all costs and I was not able to. I tried so hard and fought with so much hope and it just was not enough. I am not one who accepts failure and will keep getting up, trying again and again, harder each time. But how I get up from this loss and continue to fight I do not know. What am I fighting for when I have already lost what is unimaginable and immeasurable?” These are the words of Larry Witt in a letter to his son Liam who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 6 years old.
Pediatric cancer is the most common cause of death by disease for children and adolescents in the United States. According to The America Childhood Cancer Organization, approximately 13,400 children between the ages of birth and 19 years old are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. each year.
Like so many other children, little Liam was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer of the nervous system, on February 26th, 2007. For the next four years, Liam’s parents helplessly watched their son endure surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and antibody treatments in the fight for his life.
On her website CookiesForKidsCancer.org, Liam’s mom, Gretchen, writes: “On this odyssey, we have learned that pediatric cancer robs families of more children than any other disease. We learned about the vast disparity between funding for pediatric cancer and other cancers. We learned of the lack of interest on the part of pharmaceutical companies to invest research and development dollars in treatments and cures. And after we learned all of these shocking facts, we decided to do something about it.”
Cookies For Kids Cancer is a non-profit organization created by Liam’s parents dedicated to funding the development of new and better treatments. Gretchen and Larry got to work after finding that all types of pediatric cancers collectively receive less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s multi-billion dollar budget. With the help of 250 volunteers, Gretchen baked and sold 96,000 cookies in her first larger-than-life bake sale raising over $400,000 for pediatric cancer research. Through their bake sales and events, CFKC has raised over $6 million in just over four years.
An extension of the movement and a book for those inspired to hold their own bake sales, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer: All the Good Cookies, is a cookbook/manual/inspirational guide-hybrid that includes everything from delicious cookie recipes, clever packaging points and hosting tips, to 50-PLUS bake-sale success stories and creative ideas that reach beyond baking to a ladies-night-out-with-a-cause or a carwash. All author proceeds from the book go directly to CFKC.
CFKC has given parents the power to join their children in the fight for their lives.
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You can pick up your copy of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer: All the Good Cookies when it hits stores on April 30th. You can also create a giving page, purchase cookies, and find many other ways to help at CookiesForKidsCancer.org.