My Other Blog

What's a Wreck?

A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate - you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it's simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I'm not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.

Now, don't you have a photo you want to send me? ;)

- Jen

Catchin' the Spirit

I've jokingly told my friends and family that I'm boycotting Christmas this year, and I bet a lot of you can relate: too much stress, too little time to sit back and remember what it was that you used to love about this time of year, and too many annoying advertisers screeching that you're a bad parent or friend or loved one if you don't BUY STUFF - and lots of it.

But here's the thing: buying the usual run of candles and foot massagers and, yes, even outrageously funny gift books [wink wink] for my loved ones doesn't get me in the holiday spirit. Frankly, most of these gifts don't get them in the spirit, either.

"Gee, you shouldn't have. No, seriously."

I found inspiration in the form of Wreckie Collette Yates (no relation) and the Charity Cake-Wreck-a-thon she and some friends recently put together in Brighton. See, they asked friends and community members to bring in horrendously decorated baked goods (and boy, were there some doozies) which they sold at a local train station. In one afternoon they managed to raise 450 pounds for two cancer-fighting charities.

(From the left, that's Rachel, Collette, & Helen)
The power of Wreckage, used for good!

Now, Cake Wrecks is the sole source of income for me and John. (We used to be painters, but the economy nixed that.) However, thanks to you readers we can still afford to to give a little.

Which got us thinking: If 3 gals can use Cake Wrecks as a springboard to organize something that cool for charity, why can't we? And since Wreckies are some of the most creative, giving, and nattily dressed folks we know....

(You continue to rock, Mary Beth.)

...then why not get you, the evil wrecky henchpersons, involved?

So here's the deal: instead of buying gifts or trees or decorations this year, John and I are going to donate a minimum of $200 to a different charity or worthy cause, every day, for the next two weeks.

Which ones?

Well, that's where you come in.

See, we have a few organizations in mind, but certainly not 14. So, I'm asking for your recommendations.What are you passionate about? Where do you volunteer your time, talents, and money? Who do you know that needs help? Tell me in the comments (not e-mail!), so that we all can read and learn and maybe even give a little together.

Oh, and if you're worrying that CW is going to turn into a charity-pushing propaganda site for the next few weeks: don't. I'll just be adding a footnote to each day's post giving you the name of the organization, a one-sentence summary, and a link if you want to learn more.

Now, John and I will be choosing each day's charity based on our own individual passions - which might not match up exactly with your own - but even so I'm going to issue you a little challenge. Ready? Here 'tis:

Give one dollar to each day's charity.

If you each give one dollar - just one solitary smackeroo - together we can raise over $80,000 each day. BAM. Just like that. Imagine that 14 times over, all for worthy causes. Imagine the number of lives that could impact. Imagine, if you will...the bragging rights.

Yeah, you heard me. When you get involved in something that awesome, you get major bragging rights.

Ok. So. You pumped? You with me? You...ready for this post to be over? Heh, I hear ya.

Today's charity is Charity: Water. These guys use 100% of all donations to drill wells and provide clean drinking water to developing nations. Believe it or not, 1 out of 8 people on the planet lack this basic life-need, and every $5,000 builds a well that serves over 250 people.

Go here to donate your $1. That's the CW campaign page, where you can watch our progress, leave notes, and learn more. (Watch the video: it'll make you do a happy dance.) I've set us an easy goal - just $20K, or 4 wells - so I can't wait to see how far above and beyond that you guys are going to get us.

It's just a dollar, guys. C'mon. Let's do this together.

Note: PayPal *is* an option to donate, if you click here and hit the red donate button. A few caveats, though: PayPal takes $.30 of your dollar in fees, and your donation can't be tracked as part of the CW campaign that way. However, the point here is to give, so if you're only comfortable using PayPal, then please do so!

Update: One well down! That's right, guys, as of 4PM EST, we raised enough to pay for one well! Just three more to go...

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Reader Comments (1529)

Cystic Fibrosis is something that is personal to me... I hope you can support your local CF charity. But if not that's okay! Just spreading the word 8-)

December 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Your local Lions Club or the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF). As a member I can tell you that every penny goes towards free eye-screenings, providing needed eyeglasses and surgeries, especially for young children and babies. We also work closely with other organizations such as the Red Cross to assist with disaster relief.

PS - remember that carrots are good for vision too! ;)

December 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMel Baker

This is a wonderful idea!

I would like to suggest three charities that are important to me because I have family members affected by each of these diseases.

First, I would like to suggest the MDA. The second is the American Cancer Society. And lastly, the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.

Thank you for doing this!

December 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

Jen, John, and Wreckers:
Please, PLEASE consider donating to the ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONSERVANCY. This is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to saving and protecting our collective heritage by purchasing and safeguarding archaeological sites. Nobody else does that! We are losing that history and prehistory on a daily basis to looting, development, and neglect. The Conservancy purchases some of the country's most endangered and most important archaeological sites and tries to save them for today and for tomorrow. You can become a member for $25 and get a subscription to their magazine, American Archaeology, or just send a gift that will be put to a very good cause. Check them out at


Susan - an archaeologist who is tired of watching too many sites get destroyed!

December 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Absolutely another vote for This is one of the most incredible organizations - I love being able to select the exact project that my funding supports. Every project are so worthwhile.

There are even several projects about nutrition and health - what a perfect project for Cake Wrecks to sponsor!!

December 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I vote anything with animals.

People always donate to people and diseases while there are kittens and puppies being killed and abused. They can't speak, people can and do. And people also take advantage of charity. Animals have no voice.

Please help animals. I can't imagine all the strays cold and sick out there, waiting for a home.spro

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Canine Assistants would be a great organization to donate to. They train service dogs for people with physical disabilities, seizure disorders or other special needs. I'm a volunteer with them, and *love* working with the dogs. Canine Assistants gets no money from the government -- all their funds come from people like you and me. It takes more than $15,000 to raise and train each dog, and they have more than 1000 people on the waiting list.
Hope you'll consider them. Thanks
Leeann H.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeeann

I'd like to suggest the Caboodle Ranch. It's a 30 acre non-profit cat sanctuary run by one man in Florida. It is an amazing operation, and cats that no one else wanted are saved from certain death at kill shelters and given a life of happiness, freedom, and love.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterL. Flamingo

In my previous post, I forgot to include the website: Be sure to check the Gallery and watch the videos from Training Camp. (You may need a tissue!) It'll give you a good idea of what they do.
Leeann H.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeeann

I volunteer for a non-profit called Trauma Intervention Programs of Arizona, Inc. We get called out by police, fire, and hospital whenever there has been a tragedy such as a death, suicide, child abuse, or fire. We're there within 20 minutes and provide the survivors/families with emotional and practical support. The other day, one of our volunteers spent hours with some young children whose mother had committed suicide. It's one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life. - Shannon

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDamsels In Destress Staff

This is a great idea.

My husband and I were going to donate this year to an organization that helped the homeless on our streets. Then 4 police officers were killed in our area, and 9 children were left without parents. My family is donating to the families in this tragedy. It's not really a charity, but I think it's worth your consideration.

Another idea is an animal shelter in your area or habitat for humanity.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Ok I know this is not a huge charity organization, but my cousin and her husband are trying to adopt a child from Russia. The reason I think they deserve help is because they are very average people who have not let little things such as,not a lot of money, or, having hours cut back at work,or, living in a small house get in the way of their goals. They have 3 kids of their own and really want to help a child in need. They are the best parents I know and are always an inspiration to me. You can read about their whole journey on their website . Any help they recieve would be huge to them, it will cost about $45,000 once the whole process is done. Thanks

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKamalami

Several people mentioned autism speaks.

Please be aware that almost none of their funding goes to family services, and that actual autistic people are nearly universally against the organization, which uses such language as "cure and prevent everything on the autism spectrum". This and other rhetoric is seen as eugenic.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKassiane

Hurray, we finally made it to halfway!

I've been cheering for us. :D

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTwirly McSwirl

This wonderful little charity brings medicines, clothing, shoes, and food to the poor of Sierra Leone and accepts Paypal:

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Love this idea ... I just caught up with my daily donations. :)

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I think that you should donate money to Autism Speaks and NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness). They are both very worthy causes that deserve all the help they can get!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMickey M.

Actually, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) does NOT care for animals. They use their $130 million budget for lobbying & litigation. Give to your local shelter if you want to help the animals that live there.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Hey Jen,

It would be awesome to raise money for To Write Love on Her Arms (a non-profit located in Cocoa, FL, dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for those struggling with depression, self-injury, addiction, and suicide). They are trying to start up an IM based suicide line with Hopeline to be able to reach out in another way to those struggling with suicide, but it costs a TON for training and start up costs. I interned with them for the last 3 months so I can put you in touch with the right person if you are interested in helping out! check them out at!

With Hope,

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

Pregnant With Cancer, wonderful group providing much needed support to the women going though the highest of highs and lowest of lows at the same time.

Amy Huff

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterajhuff1974

I can't possibly read all the suggestions at this point... but I would certainly recommend Feeding America! They are the national network of food banks working to solve the ever-growing hunger crisis across the country. They are at

Additionally, I have to suggest Food Gatherers in Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor), Michigan. FG is a food rescue/food bank organization, is part of the Feeding America, and serves all of the food needs in our county. (For full disclosure, I should mention my husband works there... and they do amazing and good work!) And also - their logo/mascot/symbol is a Carrot! I can see a carrot jockey food bank worker in the future...

Thanks - for this charities giving piece, and for the fun and good work you do every day!


December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

We wanted to use the charity:water 'donate in a family member's name' option. BUT we learned of the organization from Cake Wrecks. So, you can add $200 to your Cake Wreck tracking!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'd like to submit our charity for consideration.

My husband and I opened an orphanage in the deep bush of Africa, in 2007 for babies and currently have 14 children under the age of 4 years old.

We raise all our own funding and live right here at the project so every penny goes directly to the work here.

Our website is

Thank you for what you are doing. Even if you don't choose us you are nurturing a spirit of giving that will really impact the world.

God bless you!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

There's an organization that helps families locally and that is just getting started that could seriously use some seed money. It's Project Crosswalk, and their website is here:

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergreytgrey

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation! Unfortunately, cystic fibrosis doesn't seem to be well known in society, but for millions of children, getting closer to a cure means everything. Cystic fibrosis is a lung disease that also effects the pancreas and can effect reproductive organs and growth hormones. As a long time blog reader with cystic fibrosis, this would mean the world to me.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

First-time poster, long-time reader, and I love you guys for doing this. :)

I can't let a nominate-a-charity call go by without speaking up for" rel="nofollow">IFOPA, which supports research into an extremely rare and extremely crippling medical condition that no one has ever heard of. I know it's not likely to get chosen, because FOP affects so few people, and there are so many charities that can use attention, but the research into FOP matters so very much to those people, including myself, who are affected.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam

I would really love to see Children's Miracle Network be one of the charities. It's my sorority's (Phi Mu) beneficiary and it raises money for children's hospitals, which in turn, saves the lives of sick kids. It's an amazing cause!!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey

What an absolutely fantastic idea - I'm so glad our little Brighton fundraiser has provided such inspiration! Couldn't have done it without the ever amazing Cake Wrecks! xx

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCollette Yates

St. Jude, The Autism Society, and Make A WIsh.
All three of these charities have helped either my family or someone we know.
Awesome idea by the way!!!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle M

I'm sure this has been mentioned, but I cast my vote for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

It may seem trivial, but I know from personal experience (my daughter was granted a wish to visit Disney World two years ago) that the joy that this organization brings to kids who are otherwise shouldering terrible burdens does more than just provide temporary relief. Our trip to Disney (and the Give Kids the World Village) was truly healing for all of us. It gave my husband and I a chance to reconnect and reflect on how our relationship had been impacted by our daughter's brain tumor, it gave our other kids a chance to feel appreciated for all of the sacrifices they had to make (something that is so easy to overlook in life-and-death situations), and it gave my daughter a week of worry-free pampering: a break from the pain and worry and suffering that she had been enduring.

It's an organization that gets a lot of attention, but they deserve every ounce of it. The Make-A-Wish Foundation may not be physically saving lives, but they are absolutely saving the hearts of hurt little kids and the people who love them.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

My favorite new charity is charity:water ( They have good financials and a simple, straightforward mission, and they're growing fast.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkatz

I'm late to this party, and probably waaaaaay down the list for potential donations, but wanted to throw in my suggestion, anyway-Open Arms Perinatal Services in Seattle, WA, is a not-for-profit who strive to care for the non-medical needs of pregnant underpriveledged women during their childbearing year. Their primary focus is providing birth doulas for these women. Many of these women are single, with multiple life stressers (homeless, immigrant, teen, domestic abuse victim, recovering drug addict, etc) and would otherwise be giving birth alone, with no support outside of the medical staff. They are lonely, unprepared, and terrified. The gift of a doula for their birth can be like throwing a warm blanket over someone who's freezing. Google them for more info.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShawnette

The charity that is Very dear to my heart is SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Program) which is part of the CJ Foundation for SIDS. One year ago tomorrow (Dec 14th) we lost our 14 1/2 months old son. To this day there is no cause of death. Our health litle boy died & the cornor & our Pediatrition cannot determin how or why he died. My husband & I have spent the past year raising money for research to try and find out way out heathly children our dying.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

What an awesome idea and a great way to embrace the true meaning of the season!

I don't know your feelings on religious charities, but how about a small college struggling through this tough economy? I work for Great Lakes Christian College a small college in Lansing, Michigan. Everyone has been hit hard by the economy, but Michigan seems to be taking more than its fair share of the load. Recently our governor yanked the state Promise scholarship which allowed many residents of Michigan the opportunity for higher education. All Michigan colleges showed a significant drop in enrollment, especially since the governor waited until October to let students know if they were getting any help with this financial aid.
Enough of our sob story, please consider Great Lakes Christian College for one of your charities of the day.
Thanks! (and I love your site!)

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobyn

The Liz Logelin Foundation is an AMAZING foundation providing support for widows and widowers who are struggling in this economy. Founded by a friend of a friend, Matt Logelin, after he lost his wife Liz to a blood clot the day after their daughter Madeline was born. They do awesome work!!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

I know, I'm running behind on all this, but what about:
Nothing but Nets -- a simple antimalaria campaign.
It's a nice straightforward approach.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkcwc

National Multiple Sclerosis Society:

My mom and many others I know fight the daily battle of MS. These incredible people experience a variety of life-altering symptoms as a result of this multi-faceted neurological disease. NMSS works nationwide to raise funds to promote awareness of MS and research for a cure.

If you or someone you know lives with MS, there are a variety of networks available for support and education.

National MS Society

MS LifeLines


December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Give to the Hot Topic Foundation! They give all proceeds to a number of different organizations nation-wide which help put music and the arts in schools. Enlightening our youth with art and music is such an awesome cause. You can get information and find a link to where you can make donations on the Hot Topic website at

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

The organization I believe in most is the YMCA Point Bonita, located in Sausalito, CA. Their specialty is Outdoor Environmental Education. They teach children to be stewards of their environment so that they can go home and teach *their* families and friends how to practice sustainable living. All donations go toward ensuring schools that have no funding are able to participate and bring their students. Proceeds also benefit the YMCA's My Home, My Community, My World, and several other crucial youth programs. More information can be found at:

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Is it too late to recommend a charity? If not, I recommend the" rel="nofollow">EFF!

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjackie31337

Please consider donating to a wonderful horse rescue in Edgewood, New Mexico. They are in desperate need of donations to care for the horses that people are neglecting and dumping due to the economy.

They are called Walkin' N Circles Horse Rescue Ranch....and the do accept Pay Pal!

Thanks for reading,
New Mexico

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaughing Orca Ranch

Hey Jen,

G'day from Australia. I don't know if you'll read this, but I hope you do.

My name is Emily and I'm 18. I'm hoping you'll consider the "MS Society" for one of your charities. My mother, Dianne, was diagnosed with M.S when I was 12 years old. Every day is a struggle, but I consider myself lucky because she's not in a wheelchair like others are.
It's like cancer- there's still no cure or even an idea of what causes it.

If you've already decided your 14 charities, that's okay. I still love your site. :)
(Next time, please consider doing an international tour!! We want to see you too!! :D)

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I volunteer at a local community theater, Its a fabulous place, but we are having serious financial issues, given the economy. We are a completely community organisation, no-one gets paid, directors, board members, everyone is completely volunteer, and is there because we love community theater. We will be starting our 65th season next year.... we own our own theater.

Its a really fabulous place, and could use a little TLC (we need a new roof, and some upgrades to things like the alarm system!)

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCatherineMarie

Since I know I won't remember to give a dollar a day, I gave the whole $14 to the water charity. It's a beautiful goal, and I love what you're doing here. Thank you.

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterheather (errantdreams)

What a fabulous idea, guys!! I'm just catching up on my Google reader, so I'm a little late to the party. I have two kind of "pet" charities at the moment. The first is the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (, whose mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. One of my best friends suffers from Crohn's, and I just finished a fundraising campaign and half marathon in support of CCFA. My other favorite is The Ferret Inn (, which is a small home based ferret shelter in Columbia, MD that takes in unwanted ferrets and provides for them until they can (hopefully) find a forever home. I volunteer with the shelter, mostly doing education and adoption days at local pet stores. Most ferrets will require at least one surgery during their lifetime, so as you can imagine, our vet bills are pretty astronomical. I find that ferrets get an unwarranted bad rap, and I love to help out the underdog. In any case, thanks so much for doing what you're doing. I think it's fabulous!!

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJess
is a wonderful and necessary organization that connects people to hope, help and available resources. They are out there shedding light on a subject that affects so many yet so few are willing to discuss.
- Every 16 minutes, someone in the United States dies by suicide.
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 10-24 year olds.
- 50% of College Students have reported having thoughts of suicide.
Please check out the work they are doing at:
The speak up page has testimonies from some of the students who have been affected by their program.
Please help them continue their outstanding work.

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBradley

Kids are expensive, even if they happy and healthy. Cradles 2 Crayons is a great organization in Boston and Philadelphia helping families get all the gear they need for their kids. Imagine trying to go through a New England winter without a coat or even socks.

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBridget

Dunno if you are still looking for charities, but since I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the 17th of November and had a mastectomy on the 2nd of December, this has become a cause close to me, even more than before. So the Susan G. Komen foundation, anything related to breast cancer research or supporting mammograms for women who would not normally be able to afford them, like Then of course there is the CF Foundation, my husband has CF and just turned 35, a real feat considering drs said he wouldn't live to graduate from high school when they diagnosed him as a 2 year old. So there are some ideas. I would like to contribute but not working since surgeries has placed a damper on my finances.

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterB-Jo

I like "Poo - Dolph".

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Mayan Families.
they do incredible work with very poor people in Guatemala.

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersbj

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