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

Water Works

I got an e-mail this week that rocked my world.

Here's why:

This is a hand-dug well in the Sendedo Village, located in Tigray, Ethiopia. The village has about 200 people in it, and this well marks the first time they've had access to clean local drinking water. (In the past, the women and children walked up to two hours a day to collect their water, which was often polluted and would make them sick.)

"Ok," you're thinking, "that's nice. But what does it have to do with Cake Wrecks?"

I'll show you:

We did this, guys. You, me, and every single reader who contributed their dollar (or more) to our charity: water campaign during our 2009 Charity Countdown! Right now there's a well on the other side of the world because you guys sacrificed, gave, and refused to believe that your dollar was "just" a dollar.


Wait. Did I say "a" well?

Because I meant four wells.

You heard me: we wreckies completely funded two new wells, and partially funded two others.

And in true Wrecky fashion, they even misspelled our name on the second well: 

Woot! Cake Wreeks!

This is the Mai Minshik Village, also located in Tigray, Ethiopia. It has about 225 people living in it.


Oh, and the folks at charity: water included this note:

"You might be wondering why we put a photo of a door in your report. We include it because this village is serious about maintaining their project and keeping it clean. They built a fence and a door on their own accord, to keep animals out and to show ownership of their new water source."

The other two wells are located at the Tigray elementary school and the Tigray high school, and cost more than four times what the hand-dug wells cost - over $15,000 each - because they are drilled and include hand washing stations for the children and separate bathrooms for the girls and boys:

This isn't just about health and dignity, either; it's about helping the girls in particular get an education:

"Girls in developing countries miss up to a week of class each month, or even drop out of school, when they hit puberty because they don’t have a private place to use the bathroom or wash at school."

Together we gave over $3,200 towards the Adi Chigar Elementary School project, and over $2,600 toward the Slaw High School project. That means that, all together, we gave a total of $12,874 and helped nearly 1,600 people in this community have clean drinking water for life.

And I should mention that was just one day of our Countdown; charity: water was only one out of fourteen organizations that we featured.

Not bad for a group of snarky malcontents who like cake, eh?

You can hit the links above to see more photos of each project and learn more about each village and their well. You'll also find a list of the individual donors, if you'd like to see which project your dollar went towards.

And, in all seriousness, guys, I can't look at that first plaque without getting a little (ok, a lot) emotional. Thanks for letting me be a part of this with you.


We now return you to our regularly scheduled wreck-fest.


UPDATE: The lovely folks at chartity:water made us a video thank you card! Check it out:


Aww, thanks so much, guys! Hope the cake was yummy. ;)

« International Incidents | Main | Something's Afoot »

Reader Comments (219)

Clean water (and toilets instead of just fields) is my pet cause. I didn't contribute because I wasn't yet following this blog in 2009, but I am so happy to see this.

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Woohoo! How wonderful! I am truly amazed!

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

Not only is this totally awesome, but we could raise more $$ for charity: I would love to buy a cake "wreeks" t-shirt that says "Snarky malcontent who loves cake". Whadda you say? Can we do it, J,J & JTHOJ?

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLet Them Eat Cake

I came here looking for something to make me smile...that wasn't what I was expecting, but it sure did the trick. Grinning from ear to ear.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGale

This is so exciting! I didn't get to participate in the 2009 campaign, but was proud to give in 2010. For this year, may I suggest shelterbox ( as a charity?

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRavenkatt

That's so amazing!! I wasn't a follower of the blog when this was going on, but I'm so happy to be apart of something that has helped others in such a dramatic way! Thank you for giving all of us an opportunity to help when we wouldn't know how otherwise. I'm looking forward to the next charity countdown!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

That is so awesome... I don't know if I was crying at the story or the Wreeks... But it couldn't have been a more appropriate mistake!
Thanks for making me laugh everyday- and now cry!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

I had no idea this was going on! A+, Wreck!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJess

This is so amazing! What a cool thing to actually see photos of! What a pampered life we live...

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

This is so awesome. Thank you so much not only for using Cake Wrecks to fund this great project, but also for showing readers the end result! It's amazing.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

That is awesome and inspiring! I haven't donated to the charities in the past, but I think this year I might need to get in on it!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSam

WOW!!!! Thank you for sharing, so that people can see that a dollar can go a long way ...

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerryl

So. Much. Awesome.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly Chapman

Way to use your celebrityhood for something good, so encouraging to see!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

Thank you for letting us know! What a great thing to see. It brought a tear to my eye. I have never regretted the money I donated that year, but it's nice to see some concrete results.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBetty Maartin

What an amazing follow up! It it moving to see what people can accomplish when they pull together.

Humor and good deeds?!? I don't think this site can hold any more awesomeness without exploding and covering the surrounding areas in frosting and rainbow kitten farts.

Thank you, Jen and John, for all that you do!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

Being a native Ethiopian.... I would like to send a heart felt thank you! This brought tears to my eyes!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMimi

Thank you for telling us the resutls from the fund raising. I worked in international development for ten years before switching to public health, and my father did so for over 30 years, so I know how important access to clean water and sanitation is. You and John, by supporting these wells, have saved lives.

And thank you for not only showing the power of $1, but also giving us snarky malcontents the opportunity to band together for more than mockery!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAliza


THIS is what life is about. THIS is why we are here, on this earth. to help one another. to help each other live with dignity and health and peace.

i am totally choked up over this. you guys are AWESOME.

chills. i haz 'em.

Secret Agent L

Wow, I had totally forgotten about the dollar campaign of '09 ... and I'm absolutely thrilled to have this reminder of how our dollars were used.

Way to go, Wreckies. I am so proud to have been a part of something to awesome and far-reaching.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHalle

Best post ever! Great job everyone! :)

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelli

BLESS YOUR SOULS!!! I honestly teared up when I read this!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNerdyHillbilly

It was so awesome to see the site for the elementary school well. There were 32 pages of donors, nearly all of which gave $5, totalling $32000! John and Jen, thanks for tapping into the collective resources. This year, you should set the goals really high!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCakeyGoodness

Thanks for the update. This was truly moving.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer R

That's seriously great. Tears in my eyes.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeccaess

This makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

This is Awesome!!! Gave me the shivers and goosies.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAMcKee

I gave during that fundraiser and look forward to doing so every year.

Bless you guys!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLIz

It's like the little dollar that could :)

I can't wait for this years holiday season - it's becoming a tradition of ours.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna N

That's so funny! I had *just* the other day, revisited a couple fundraising posts here - I was hoping by doing so, I could see the amount donated. I can't tell you how much I love this. It made me teary, too.

Oh! A friend started an organization - wine to water - that helps provide clean water in places that need it via a very simple filter. He did a TED talk about it, for TEDx Charlotte, and the link to his site is here. It warms my heart that people are giving so freely of themselves to bring something we take for granted to those who need it. Thanks for your post!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaren

Made me tear up today. I've been part of another project that did the same thing. It's amazing when what seems like a small amount to us, can do such huge things around the world.

Can't wait until you post the charities again this year. =)

Way to go!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

OMG that makes me feel so happy and warm and fuzzy to know that us wreckies care enough that it actually made a difference in someone's life!!!!!!!! Yay wreckies!!!!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerrs

Really, really awesome! That just warmed my heart.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKAH

I have to agree - favorite Cake Wrecks post ever. And the fact that your blog name is that many miles away, in English, in Ethiopia, is strangely wonderful.


August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSkippyMom

Wow, this touched me especially because my children are Ethiopian! Way to go, Wreckies! (Or is it "Wreekies"?)

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLee

"Snarky malcontents who like cake"

I got teary-eyed reading this. What an amazing thing you all have accomplished through this blog. Good job Jen and John and the rest of you malcontents! :) I'm proud to know ya.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

Yay!!! Some of that money was mine and I can't think of anything better I could have spent it on :). Thanks for being a daily part of my life for the last few years, Jen and John, and thanks for building something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz in Seattle

Wow, that is one of the most awesome things I have ever seen. It makes me get a little emotional when I see things like this. It shows that there is still good people out there, willing to let go of a few hard earned dollars to help people across the world that they will never meet. Congrats Cake Wrecks...

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber LaShell

This has lifted my spirits like nothing else today. Truly awesome job, wreckies!!! %) And Jen and John, brilliant idea. You guys are the best!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I thought I was having a bad day. THIS put my stupid meaningless crap in perspective. YAY for you and for everyone who donated. I think this is totally the most awesome post ever. :-)

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

I love all the posts of this site, but this one has topped as my absolute favorite. I heart cakewrecks and I heart charity:water, but after visiting Ethiopia, I especially heart the people of Ethiopia.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbeth m.

Add me to the puddle of wreekie sobsters! I love you guys!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJillie B

I came here to see what wonderful wrecks would appear on my birthday (August 25) and instead I am beyond moved at your kindness and the effect it had on an entire village.

Well, well, well. Well done! :)

(and happy birthday to me!)

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJay

This post isn't as funny as yours usually are. Maybe tomorrow it will?

[Editor's note- You know? You're right. This post isn't funny. -john]

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaked On

So many waves of goosebumps! (and it's 104° here). People rock!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLarisa


August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLora

This is just fantastic way to go...........

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJo-Anne

I work in international development and I *still* have tears in my eyes. Looks like a great project.

I was going to send you a ghetto wreck from "really ghetto" but I think I'll just end the night here. Good job you guys.

August 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlili

Awesome to see the end result!

August 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDuffylou

This. This right here is why I love me some cake "wreeks!" This is amazingly awesome.

August 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSqueegeeash

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>