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)

You probably have way more than 14 ideas by now, BUT if you are still in the choosing process, I am suggesting Scarleteen, a website dedicated to offering comprehensive sexual health information to teenagers and young adults. It's a pioneering site that's inclusive and responds to the needs of its users. They are in the midst of a fundraising drive right now and could use all the help they can get!

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Consider adding a microcredit organization such as:

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaleb

I volenteer for meals on wheels and I know that they make it possible for many disabeled and elderly people to get through the day.

Fostercare family support groups.

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

How about Disable American Vets.

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Suicide Prevention Education.

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'd like to suggest
the sexual health charity I work for which i doing wonderful work promoting communication between parents and children to try and prevent teenage pregnancies and STIs

and The UKs main bone marrow donor register who provide life saving bone marrow and stem cell transplants to Leukaemia sufferers.

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

One of the most deserving charities I know is Operation Kindness in Carrollton, TX. I am sure very few have heard of them, but they are the oldest and largest NO KILL animal shelter in TX. They do amazing work, and even when they are full up to the brim, they still cannot say no. They have taken in hundreds of animals each time some "breeder" is arrested for bad conditions, and they strive to get each animal into foster homes until someone can give them a forever home. Operation Kindness has their own website at Please consider featuring them as one of your charities. I know with more money they can do more good work for the animals in TX!

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I'd like to suggest the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association. CMT is a very common disease that causes painful muscle atrophy of the hands, feet, legs and arms, among other areas. It may be common, but it is little known and is a newer disease to the health community. They have very little funding for new medical research and could greatly benefit from an event such as this.

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

The Nature Conservancy has a special campaign that is perfect for $1 donations - aims to plant a billion trees in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. $1 is enough for one tree, so $80,000 would be 80,000 trees!! The website explains it way better, and more beautifully, than I ever could.

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaddy

I'm all for the Human Rights Campaign

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I've volunteered at The Ronald McDonald House as a baker. I went in once or twice a week to bake something for the families, and I fell in love with the place! It's such a great cause, and the families are so thankful to have a place to stay near the hospital and with other families in similar situations.

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth deserves your support. provides suicide prevention education. The mission is to connect with children and young adults and prevent suicide which is the 3rd leading cause of death in ages 10-24. NoResolve connects with children and young adults through the use of a music while presenting education and support. The young people who attend these presentations no longer feel alone and recieve a life line whether that be support for them or their friend. Children learn about the warning signs and gain the strength/courage to talk about suicide. NoResolve deserves your support!! Thanks and Happy Holidays

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdas

Cure Autism Now. Funding research for autism, which now affects 1 in 150, is hugely important.

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJaclyn

One of my favorite groups is the Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center~ This amazing family has given up many of lifes comforts to help the less fortunate living in Haiti. By donating money to this center you are helping fill many hungry bellies that may go all day without food. Please consider sponsering this group. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaDonna

Casa de Amor is a small series of childrens' homes in located in impoverished Cochabmaba, Bolivia that aims to care for and love on babies and children until they are placed with forever families. Casa de Amor is not incredibly well known, and the day-to-day work is not exciting or glamorous, but each one of our kids by themselves is reason enough to consider giving this year.

Additionally, finances are tight at the moment, so please know how very, very appreciated any help would be. Thanks for taking the time to read this!

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My favorite organization is They work tirelessly to fight for the rights of every parent in America. M.O.T.H.E.R.S. stands for: (M) Maternity and Paternity Leave,(O)Open Flexible Work,(T) T.V. and After School,(H) Healthy Kids,(E) Early Care and Education,(R) Realistic and Fair Wages,(S) Sick Days, Paid.

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Many of the ones I'd like to suggest would be too controversial (right to life groups) but I love the idea of the ASPCA. Also,I like the idea of something like DIsabled Veterans or Paralyzed Veterans of America.

ANother suggestion is . I think it's a great charity reguardless of your feelings on the situation over there.

I have reservations about Komen becuase of their associations...I've often wondered if there are other breast cancer charities out there at all,ones that don't donate to PP.

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

I nominate Saving Shelter Pets (SSP)!

SSP is a very small, all-volunteer organization that rescues animals from high-kill shelters and also supports spay/neuter programs. We rely solely on donations, and unfortunately due to the current economy, we are REALLY struggling right now to keep our programs running. We can definitely use all the help we can get!

From the hard working volunteers, and all the animals who depend on us, thank you so much for considering us. :)

Jamie Vijay

December 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamieM

A great cause the Shelter Box started by a Rotary Club in England. They provide esential materials for families who have been affected by war, natural disaster, etc. to have everything they need to survive and live comfortably. The website is:

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide

December 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachelle

Great Idea!

Some charity suggestions: Central Asia Institute, from the book Three Cups of Tea, they provide schooling to girls in the middle east and use the donated money very effectively!

Also the International Rescue Committee, they help provide much needed resources to refugees around the world.
They're also matching donations dollar for dollar!

Also, where I used to work, the Minnesota Literacy Council (, is a great non profit that provides literacy services to adults and children.

December 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDe Nueva

Truly awesome. I love what you are doing and how you are doing it. I'm too late I'm sure to put in a plug for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or the Liz Logelin Foundation, but I just want to thank you for harnessing the power of the internet and giving to such wonderful causes. I'm on a quest to have raised $25,000 over 2 1/2 years for LLS and the thought of someone like you having the ability to suggest the act of giving to more than a million folks and getting them TO DO IT is...well, there are no words.
Thank you.

December 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkimberly

I am a bit late to the party. I was going to suggest Heifer International, but I see you have that one already.

There is an organization called the National Federation of the Blind which offers all kinds of assistance and education for blind people (Skills for day to day living, braille reading, scholarships to get an education.). And most importantly, it teaches people to have respect for themselves and champions rights for the blind (And is run by blind people.)

I've always loved your blog, and I am absolutely in love with this idea. I donated all my charity money to Heifer and the NFB already this year, so I can't add to CW's good record. But then everyone here is awesome, so I'm sure that won't matter too much.

December 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter12 hour pills

Donate to the SHE 28 campaign!

It helps women and girls in developing countries have access to sanitary products (in a sustainable way!) so that they don't have to miss school or work, which in turn helps the entire community and nation.

Watch the promo video if you need more convincing:

December 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm also jumping on late, but I really love the idea! I've given my family donation gifts for a couple of years, and I was surprised it was such a big hit.

I urge you to consider Association of Hole in the Wall Camps, or even an individual camp. They are an association of camps (11 camps in 8 countries) for children with disease and disability, children recovering, and siblings of those children. They also offer family and bereavement programs.

Hole in the Wall Camps was founded by Paul Newman with the idea that no disease or disability should compromise the enjoyment of childhood. All programs- for campers, siblings, parents, everything- are completely free of charge and dependent on donations.

Thanks, and keep on wrecking!

December 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMoriah

ATN, Attachment and Trauma Network, deals with children who have been traumatized and have disorders or diseases due to it. It provides not only resources for the children, but many resources for parents and siblings, like myself, to help them stay strong in the challenges in their lives. It's truly a blessing.

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Please consider Generation Rescue as a charity. My son is now mostly recovered from his autism because of the kind of treatments and support that this organization makes available to families. This is an "outsider" charity as not many people want to get tangled up in the politics of autism, but please- these are real kids and real families being affected in this epidemic. Here is their site:

Another excellent choice is FAIR Autism Media:

Lastly, the Autism Research Institute has been so important to bringing hope and healing to families like mine:

Thank you for considering this!

December 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSierra

Darius Goes West is a cause that is trying to raise money and awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. For more information you can visit their website and watch this movie at the link below. It's very inspiring. They are actually in a contest with Chase Community Bank to win One million dollars. If you have a Facebook, please become a fan and vote! Thanks!

December 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (GSF) seeks to raise awareness about and fund research for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the leading genetic killer of young children, and support those impacted by SMA and other life-altering diseases.

January 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaile

Donate to Cystic Fibrosis.

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