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

The 2011 Charity Countdown

Hi, guys! I know the holidays can leave us hectic, hassled, and (sometimes) decking more than halls. That's why I first introduced the Cake Wrecks Charity Countdown back in 2009: I wanted to reconnect with that holiday spirit everyone's singing about, and I wanted a way to band together as Wreckies to make a difference for those who needed it, one teensy, easy-to-give dollar at a time.



The results were awesome, inspiring, and downright sweet. (Remember this?)

So this year, by oh-so-much popular demand, we're doing it again.

Here's how it works:

I'm asking each of you to give one dollar - just a single buckaroo - to each of our featured charities. Most of our picks are signed up with First Giving, a charity payment service, which means you can enter your info once and it wil remember it for each charity - a real time saver.

And because we're all so busy this month, I'm going to switch things up by announcing all of our charity picks today, so you won't miss any of the later ones while you're off traveling and celebrating and whatnot. Feel free to give to them all today, or come back and give one day at a time with your families. (I've heard from lots of folks who use this as a teaching tool for their kids - cool idea!)

By itself, a dollar can't do much. But that's the whole point: if we work together, our individual dollars WILL make a difference. And seeing that happen - knowing that a new well was drilled or a little boy got his surgery or a family will have full bellies this Christmas - and knowing you made that happen? Well, wow.

Let's do that, Wreckies.


So, without further ado, here's our 2011 Charity Countdown lineup:


Give Kids The World provides children with life-threatening illnesses and their families truly magical experiences at the Give Kids The World Village, a 70-acre Orlando resort specifically designed for children with special needs.

Click here to donate your dollar. 




Love146 has one simple, compelling, gut-wrenching goal: "The abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation. Nothing less."

Cick here to donate your dollar.



Operation Smile provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children around the globe.

Click here to donate your dollar.


Share Our Strength’s goal is to end childhood hunger in America. "Working with others, we believe we can do this by 2015."

Click here to donate your dollar.




charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. We use 100% of public donations to directly fund sustainable water solutions in areas of greatest need.

Click here to donate your dollar.



Free Wheelchair Mission is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing wheelchairs for the impoverished disabled in developing nations.

Click here to donate your dollar.



To Write Love On Her Arms is dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.

Click here to give your dollar.



Heifer International works to end hunger and poverty by providing livestock, training, and related services to communities worldwide.

Click here to give your dollar.



Also, feel free to share links to your favorite charities in the comments - especially local or lesser-known ones - so we can all find some new causes to support this year!

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Reader Comments (77)

Response of Suffolk County a 24 hr Crisis Hotline, with federal and state funding cuts they're in desperate need of donations.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermetz

I know an org that people can help out FOR FREE. Sign donor cards.... simple right? but lots of people dont!
Im a 28 single mom of a special boy, and im on dialysis for kidney failure. The current waitlist for transplants where i live is only 4 years or so, but in some places its 10+ years... and all people have to do is sign.... doesnt cost anything.
Of course there are other ways, u could donate money, and there are plenty of kidney funds that could use help, but i figured id just mention the free option ;)
Happy holidays!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMamadork

Participate in the Project for Awesome!

Every year on December 17th, people from all over the world create YouTube videos about their favorite charity and post them. Then thousands of us comment, favorite, and like those videos so that all of the Most Viewed, Most Favorited, Most Commented, and Most Liked pages on YouTube are all about charity.

I always find some really cool charities I'd never heard of before.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

I volunteer at the Atlanta Humane Society. We are a non-profit which exists because of donations. We don't get funding from any national sources (meaning not the Humane Society at large). We just opened a second location just north of Atlanta. We do not put down animals for time or space, meaning as long as the animal remains adoptable, it will have a home with us.

Some history: The AHS is the oldest private charitable organization in Atlanta, founded in 1873 following a visit to the city by Robert E. Lee. The animal charity was originally chartered to protect women, children, and animals and remained a child protection and animal welfare society for 79 years.

We're ramping up our end-of-year donation drive. Here's the link.

We saved 5,500 animals this year. Any help would be more than appreciated.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Will you be posting daily reminders of that day's charity, or should I set my own reminders? It's fine, either way. I enjoy donating daily and I don't want to forget.
I agree with all the others, thank you so much for doing this. I give regularly to a few charities, but it is really fun to collaborate with the other readers and give to these other charities.

Merry Christmas!

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJillie B

Once again, thank you for including Give Kids The World in this. They've done so much good in the lives of children battling life threatening illnesses... and who could resist a life sized candy land game?? :) Thanks!

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

With so many worthy causes to contribute to, I hesitate to add another, but here goes. As I suspect most of your readers are from the US, here is a link for Shelterbox, an organisation that provides shelter in times of emergency - current deployments include Van (Turkey), Dadaab (Kenya) and Thailand -

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKiwiKat

My favorite charity is Hogar De Vida ( in Guatemala. I have gone down and worked with them several times and they provide the opportunity for abandoned children to have a family. There are around 30 kids living at the home and there are 10 or so workers who help care for the kids. Many of the kids come from awful conditions, children of homeless, prostitutes, alcoholics, and parents killed by violence or sickness. These kids are incredible. They know how blessed they are to have been brought to the home and the home operated as one big family. That being said, these kids always need support. For $30 a month you can sponsor a kid, this pays for food and clothing as well as general upkeep at the home.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarahB

Thank you SO much for including TWLOHA on this year's list. The work they do is so critically important and anything that gets their message out is helpful.

Great list! Merry Christmas!

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Imp

I would do this with my daughters (6 & 8), but I'm not sure I want to have to explain what child sex slavery is. We talk about a lot of the other issues, though.

The local organization I'm involved with is the Salem Education Foundation. "SEF has a long-standing commitment to improving the educational outcomes and experience of all students in our schools. We are committed to systemic reform of public education in Salem and view this approach as the only route to creating sustained change in student achievement. To that extent, all initiatives and investments that we will support in Salem will have the capacity to improve student achievement, promote effective teaching, and improve systems and structures."

Our local school system just got downgraded by the state of Massachusetts. SEF is providing critical outside views and support to make sure that ALL the children in the city, not just those with English-literate parents who have time to spare, are offered a good education.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexa

I like turtles.

No really, I'm working on going back to school to work with sea turtles. Therefore, my favorite charity is The Turtle Hospital I just made a $25 donation to them on behalf of Cake Wrecks (in addition to the ones you listed, of course).

Thank you for doing the charity countdown every year!

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Hartz

This message is for Anna, who posted about Kids With Food Allergies. Anna, my son has a life-threatening milk allergy and only recently outgrew his egg allergy. When I bake a cake, I use the classic "Wacky Chocolate Cake" recipe (it's vegan and nut-free, nice and safe - just google the recipe name to find the recipe), and I spread this awesome vegan buttercream frosting on top: And I gotta tell you, you can style that stuff just like it's real icing! You can even mix in some fruit preserves to add colour to the icing without adding food colouring chemicals. Good luck and happy baking!

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStriderGirl

I would like to add one more charity if that's okay. This is a hospital in central Florida that has a program to treat and do research to find a cure for a set of diseases called Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD).
All types of GSD cause the body to either not be able to make enough glucose, or not be able to use glucose as a form of energy. These diseases range from only mildly affecting a person's life to being fatal. Since it's such a rare disease, there is not a lot of funding so every penny is used wisely.
This charity is close to my heart because I myself have this disorder as well as having a few friends that have this as well. Thank you for considering a making donation.

This is the donate link (there's several links on this page but all of them lead to treating or curing this disease.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIvy

I would like to nominate the charity Kidd's Kids for a recipient of donations. Kidd's Kids is affiliated with Kidd Kraddick, a nationally syndicated radio DJ ( Kidd created this charity in 1991 to take terminally and chronically ill children and their entire family to Disney World each year. This has grown to include more than 60 children and their families each year. Please visit their website, for more information, inspirational stories and pictures from this year's trip.

Thank you!!

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaryanne

Sorry. For some reason the link didn't post before.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIvy

"Most of our picks are signed up with First Giving, a charity payment service, which means you can enter your info once and it wil remember it for each charity - a real time saver."

I can't make this work. :( I made my first donation, and at that time created a First Giving account. Now when I go to make a second donation, the page insists I sign in to my First Giving account. But once signed in, I don't see any options for donating to Jen's pages! (I don't want to create my own webpage!) What am I missing?

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJodi S

SO wonderful to see you promoting TWLOHA!

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercrashmandicoot

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for featuring Give Kids The World! This is truly an incredible place, and even the smallest amount of money goes a long way. I am so in love with this place that I actually moved from NYC to Orlando to volunteer there for 6 months. I am there daily, and every single day I see the sweetest, most deserving children having the times of their lives. Dancing, splashing in the pool, eating tons of ice cream. meeting cartoon mice and princesses -- simple things that should be part of any childhood experience, but often firsts for many of these special wish kids.

I think that GKTW flies a bit under the radar as compared to organizations like St. Jude's and Ronald McDonald House, and maybe that's OK...but thank you for giving them a well-deserved spotlight. I will happily donate to all of the organizations included in the Charity Countdown!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlison @ The Peacock Diaries

Wow, I had never heard of Free Wheelchair Project before, and I was so touched that I decided to buy a wheelchair in my family's honor -- you can send the donation with a Christmas card! What a lovely present.

Does anyone know if there is an American equivalent? I am thinking of some of the homeless I have seen in New York City who definitely needed wheelchairs, and how we have a big need for a similar program here at home.

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMoony

I'm confused, there used to be 12 different charities suggested, but i only see 8. Will there be more charities suggested later?

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterelecblueis

Getting help from the unexpected. B.A.C.A. Bikers Against Child Abuse. No Child Deserves to Live in Fear

December 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPuck

Thank you so much for doing this again - I can't give much, but it's great to be part of the group and know that together our donations really can make a difference!

I know someone else mentioned Doctors Without Borders, and I'd also like to suggest the Batonga Foundation, which supports education for girls in Africa.

December 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

I'm so glad that Cake Wrecks is doing the Charity event again! It's so fun to have been involved since the first year and keep donating where every dollar counts. I'm happy to see Give Kids the World and Charity: Water returning this year - those two are some of my favorites!!

I like to support a few different charities (in addition to CW's picks!). I get my mom different animals from Oxfam - and I've purchased simple wooden animals from a seller on etsy to have something to actually wrap for my mom. She loves her little menagerie.

For my dad, each Christmas I pick a different military charity. I've done the USO, National Military Family Association, and this year will be United through Reading.

My cousin works for a group in Guatemala - women who make scarves, tablecloths, etc. The items are really beautiful - not really a charity - but doing good work: Las Mujeres del Triunfo

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicoleW

Another donation suggestion - The Conservation Fund is a great charity that helps conserve land for public use and wildlife habitats. :)

December 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Finally made my donations this afternoon. Jen, you selected great charities again this year! It's wonderful to see what our small donations are doing as a group - talk about synergy! My favorites are Charity:Water and Heifer International. We can give a person a cup of rice, but if we give her/him a cow, or land, or clean water, she/he can feed a family indefinitely.

December 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnne-Marie

Thanks for doing this again, Jen and john (hubby of jen). So glad to help!

December 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTucsonjill

I see that you are looking for new charities. I would like to share Gilda's Club Madison with you. Gilda's Club was formed by Gene Wilder in honor of Gilda Radner after the passed away from ovarian cancer. Gilda's Club provides support, education and community for people living with cancer and their friends and families. Two out of three people will be impacted by cancer in their lifetime. Gilda's Club gives us hope. Thanks for considering supporting our work!

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLannia

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