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)

Do all the charities have to have the same initials as Cake Wrecks? ;)

-Julie A.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'd love to donate but unfortunately I'm unable to do so for any charity that doesn't except PayPal. Just a suggestion to maybe list the types of payments accepted in the blurb at the bottom. So, can't for todays charity but I'm looking forward to tomorrows!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

One of my favorite charitable organizataions is Heifer, International, which is devoted to ending hunger. The Heifer folks don't give food - they give animals like cows, chickens, and goats that build better lives for people. Part of receiving a Heifer animal is an obligation to "pass the gift," meaning to give someone else one of your animal's offsprings.

I'll be giving dollars where I can. What a great way to keep the spirit in the season!


December 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterk-10b

Great idea!

I'm a big softy for ASPCA or The Humane Society, so I'd suggest one of those.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

March of Dimes, helps fight premature births (saving tiny babies, with or without their riding-carrots)

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Oh there's so many. First and foremost, Make A Wish. I'm sure tons of people will say it, but it's such an amazing charity!

The ASPCA. I've always been an animal lover, and I think they're just great.

Here's one you may not have heard of: Angel Flight. It's pilots who fly people for free, for medical or charitable needs.

There are, of course, others, but those are the three that always get me.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSparky

Love this, you are fantastic. Hoping to Adopt.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLechelle

They are doing amazing things in the country of Rwanda! I will be spending the year 2010 teaching English at Sonrise School in Musanze, so clearly this charity is near and dear to my heart!

Kelly Simpson

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

I'd like to suggest a charity for Research, support and education for Congenital Heart Defects. We lost our son Joshua Nolan last year at only 2 months old due to Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. We donate the the CHOP (Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia) Cardiac Research fund in his name and also to It's My Heart Northern NJ Chapter

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa

Love your site! Thanks for a laugh everyday!
Thank you for calling for us to give to charity during this time of year. I know a great charity - Food for the Poor ( They help poor people in Latin America and the Caribbean. One of the things I love about this charity is that more than 97% of all donations go directly to programs that help the poor. That is incredible for this type of charity!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love LOVE Heifer International. It's about giving sustainable gifts that help people learn and do for themselves. And those who receive have to pass it on. Made of win!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJust A Girl

Oh yum - that grinch heart cake looks DELISH, lol.


December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Cake wrecking for a good cause... I love it.

My brother-in-law runs this AMAZING organization in Ohio that helps support families battling cancer:

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterelizabeth

National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation!

my favorite guy has been fighting his @ss off against this disease for year...but it doesn't stop him from cycling, rock climbing, and living his life on his terms.

they are starting to investigate a new theory that ms is vasular and surgery may stop progression. that's what we need! more thinking outside the box! finally, independent thinking! woo hoo!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Please help fight for human rights. For everyone. My husband and I donate time and money to them.

Point Foundation. A great non-profit organization.

Habitat for Humanity. My husband and I volunteer twice a month and spend a lot of our own money to help.

Thank you for doing this. It brought tears to my eyes.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJuly19

What a great idea you guys! I suggest The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This organization is working to find a cure for blood cancer. Did you know that leukemia is the number one killer of kids under the age of 20? And since kids like cake, it seems to be a good fit. You can learn more here: (I'm from MN, so you could choose the MN Chapter if you wanted to (

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMandaK

I think this is a wonderful idea! "To Write Love on Her Arms" is a non-profit that helps people who struggle with depression, self-injury, and addiction, and suicide.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Long-time reader, first-time poster :)
I really applaud you two for coming up with this great idea. I'll definitely go donate my dollar, and I have some other ideas for organizations to donate to.
Here in my tiny little town in Upstate New York, there are two major programs that keep the village running. Poverty is a big problem around here, and I probably could quote a bunch of stats to bore you to death but I'll spare you that. Rural Services of Cortland and Chenango Counties provides a food pantry, Christmas assistance, back-to-school supplies, a used clothing shop, and provides myriad other services to community members in need. Some of their money comes from Catholic Charities, but with budget cuts this year, they currently stand about $30,000 short for next year's funding. I do some volunteer work here, as do a few of my co-workers, and we definitely witness first-hand how this place has helped our community.
The other idea I'm throwing out there is for the not-for-profit I work for, Family Health Network of Central New York. We provide health care to the same types of population served by Rural Services, and roughly 20% of our patients have no health insurance. For these people, we provide a sliding-fee scale so they may pay as little as $15 for their care. Without this service, there would be over 1,000 people in our area with no real access to affordable health care.
Please consider these as options for your donations. We're making a real difference in our area.
Amy P, Cincinnatus, Ny

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I love this idea! I'll definitely be participating.

I'd like to suggest the National MS Society for my sister, who has battled the disease for about 30 years yet is still one of the strongest people I know.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen_Ann_W

Let's start the ball rolling! Only a few clicks, and it's painless!! Just do it...NOW!


December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

First time poster - just had to say FANTASTIC idea guys! I've donated my dollar for the day and will continue for the next 2 weeks. Thanks for the opportunity.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKB

Count me in :)

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobyn

I volunteer for Two by Two dog rescue, a no-kill shelter in Helena, AL. We have no government funding, and exist entirely on donations. We don't have an adoption facility, so all of our dogs are in volunteer's foster homes. Right now, because of lack of funding, we are full and are having to turn dogs away. Three weeks ago, my fiance found a beautiful Siberian Husky who is currently a guest in our garage. We had to put her there because my house is full with my seven rescue dogs. When we took her to get spayed, we found out that she is heart-worm positive. Treatment will be at least $400. This makes at least the sixth dog this year that will need heart-worm treatment, which is time-consuming and extremely expensive. Any help given would be greatly appreciated!

I just posted something like this on my facebook page. I wish everyone had such a giving spirit!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCommander Strikeher

I think this is great! Too many people get caught up spending money and out doing each other isntead of what matters. Letting your family and friends know they appreciate you and helping others that need help.

I have lots of pattions in charity mostly related to rasing money for cancer (since I've had many close relatives and friends survive and conceed ot it) but my suggestion is something different then what I would normally pick.

Recently my uncle was diagnosed with onset diebetes. It's an epidemic from people eating all these cake wrecks so no one has view them there for I think the American Diabetes association would be a great cause.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValtastic

I recommend The Liz Logelin Foundation. It was founded by another popular blogger, Matt Logelin. The foundation provides support for families that have lost a parent/spouse. Here is their mission statement:
The Liz Logelin Foundation was established to assist families who find themselves in the heartbreaking, catastrophic situation of having lost a spouse, life-partner, and parent. The Foundation’s goal is to financially assist these families as they deal with the loss of their loved ones, and struggle to move forward. The Foundation was established in 2009 by Matthew Logelin, who lost his wife Elizabeth in 2008.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaddie

Charitable organization? How about the Hedgehog Welfare Society. The Hedgehog Welfare Society exists to protect the well-being of pet hedgehogs through rescue, research, and education of the people who care for them:

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

UMCOR: United Methodist Committee on Relief

Yes, it is religious. Yes, it is a certain denomination. However, UMCOR is often the first relief organization on site. Along with the Catholic charities, it has been in the New Orleans area since Katerina. They do good work and empower people to be in service.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBEAT

The Liz Logelin Foundation!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErica

I volunteer with the Humane Society, & it has changed my life! With the terrible economy, pet abandonment & abuse have skyrocketed in this country. Thousands of homeless dogs & cats need our help, & the Humane Society does incredible work getting them into safe facilities, & adopted out. Please consider them!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKate


December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

May I suggest Eckerd Youth Alternatives ( as one of your charities of the day? The organization works to give all kids a chance to succeed through a whole continuum of programs from early intervention and prevention, foster care programs, outdoor therapeutic programs, residential treatment, aftercare, day schools, and more. With the idea that every child has a uniqueness and inherent worth, EYA has been changing lives for over 40 years and is now in nine states.
Thanks for considering this organization.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAshli

I support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. My son has CF and without this organization's help, half of what we know today about treatment for this genetic disorder would not be known. In the last 20 years the life span of CF patients has doubled, largely thanks to CFF.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenH

This may already be on you and John's list, but I would LOVE to see a large donation go to either the Humane Society or the ASPCA. Both are organizations working tirelessly to care for and find homes for the country's homeless/abused/abandoned pets.
Thank you for using your power for good (and a little evil)!!!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChelsey & Taylor

I have a suggestion for a charity!

Clark County Humane Society in Clark County, WI is a no-kill shelter... which is AWESOME, but sometimes difficult because they have so many animals at one time. They always welcome donations! They also have a fab low-cost program for fixing pets. A recently-retired teacher at the local elementary also did a lot of volunteering there and every week brought some students out to volunteer with her. Check it out!


December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Since this is a food (or "food") site, may I recommend food banks? Either your local one in Florida, Feeding America (the national network of food banks) or encourage your readers to donate to their own local ones - food or money or time. Food banks are great organizations that have a huge impact on the communities they serve.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

I would like to suggest a donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I know this is a group that already has lots of campaigning, so maybe it's a little bit more mainstream than what you're looking for (which I completely understand--it's hard to say one charity is better than another). The MDA raises money to provide sufferers of MD with doctors visits, wheelchairs, medical supplies, and visits for children to camp.

I volunteered at an overnight camp for kids with Muscular Dystrophy for five years. I was paired one-on-one with an eleven year-old girl who walked and ran and giggled at silly jokes. Now, seven years later, she is in a wheelchair and cannot stand on her own, but is still a big giggler (I happen to know she laughs at your site almost daily, like me!). On the first day I met her she told me she was worried she would not live to have a sweet sixteen party, but thanks to people donating money to research, she is now working on earning her diploma.

Each minute of research on muscular dystrophy costs an average of $65 dollars. If $80,000 was donated, more than 20 hours of research could be completed.

Thanks for taking the time to read this--I cannot tell you how great I think what you're doing is. When I stumbled across this site a year ago I was delighted over having a little something to laugh at each day. I am now moved by all that you have accomplished in such a short time.

Thank you!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'd like to recommend the Humane Society of the United States. They stand up for those who don't have a voice!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica

Thank you for doing this, you will be helping to change lives with this.

I'd like to suggest . They are such a wonderful organization that works so hard to make sure children get the water, medical treatment & education they need to be able to survive to adulthood & to take that education & make their communities & lives great ones.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiberty

During the school year of 05-06 I did an internship in the Philippines. Part of my internship included working with Gentle Hands Orphanage, whose slogan is, "for love of the poor". They are primarily an orphanage that takes in poor and abandoned children, but in times of crisis they take in burn victims, flood victims, abused children, handicapped children, starving children and dying people whose familes can't - or won't - take care of them anymore. If parents give up their children Gentle Hands even arranges adoptions with "forever families" around the world. They have a boys' program where young, rowdy, rebellious boys are shown love and care and taught that their lives can be different and they can make a mark on the world! I have never understood how they pay for the children, the medical patients, the surgeries they "gift" to kids who need them. Please consider this incredibly selfless charity that is working to save the lives of the underprivileged and under-loved in the Philippines!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJP

This is such a great idea!

My suggestion for a charity would be 826 National ( or any of its chapters. They provide space and time for kids to play with the world of reading and writing, offering tutoring, writing workshops, field trips and in-school activities to kids ages 6 to 18.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

During the school year of 05-06 I did an internship in the Philippines. Part of my internship included working with Gentle Hands Orphanage, whose slogan is, "for love of the poor". They are primarily an orphanage that takes in poor and abandoned children, but in times of crisis they take in burn victims, flood victims, abused children, handicapped children, starving children and dying people whose familes can't - or won't - take care of them anymore. If parents give up their children Gentle Hands even arranges adoptions with "forever families" around the world. They have a boys' program where young, rowdy, rebellious boys are shown love and care and taught that their lives can be different and they can make a mark on the world! I have never understood how they pay for the children, the medical patients, the surgeries they "gift" to kids who need them. Please consider this incredibly selfless charity that is working to save the lives of the underprivileged and under-loved in the Philippines!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJP

This is amazing! Thank you so much for doing this John and Jen! I would participate, but have no money to give. My family and I are going through a foreclosure this Christmas. My kids arent getting anything for Christmas, but I hope they are young enough not to notice. I definitely want to implement the giving to charity next year though.
I will join you in spirit. :) You are amazing people!
Merry Christmas!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterblessedmommy

Samaritan's Purse

These are the folks who do the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. They also have a catalog where you can purchase gifts for families in developing countries that could really change their lives. From basic needs like clothes, blankets, and food, to livestock and crops for establishing independence, to building a school or church for a community.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLynnette

I read your blog and just adore, even took a picture of a "christmas tree" cupcake my boyfriend bought me last night that I may send in!

My charity is the Tanzanian Children's Fund, which supports the Rift Valley Children's Village in North Western Tanzania. I have lived there for several months on multiple occasions as a volunteer and it has changed my life. It is home to over 60 children (and counting) who otherwise would be homeless and alone. Some were found catching birds to feed their little brother, some were found crawling in the dirt in the village center. The founder has legally adopted every child and is their mother, with the help of volunteers and local house mommas.

They also support through food, clothing, medicine and academic support hundreds of other children who have families that love them but without the support may otherwise end up homeless or worse.

They further have a program where local children about to enter high school can live at the Village for a year for free and work as a tutor to the younger kids both at the school and the Village in exchange for high school being paid for. High school in Tanzania is boarding school and although it costs under $2000 for the year, when the average income is $500, it is impossible for most families to afford the school.

Finally, they have been working with donors in the states to create a microloan program offering loans of $100 to local people who have ideas to start businesses, such as buying chickens to be able to sell the eggs or buy a new sewing machine to become the local seamstress.

The place is amazing and trying to spread the help as far as they can.

Thanks, Jess

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMy Journey Back to Africa

The Bridge in Amarillo Texas. It's essentially a crisis center for molested or abused children. They see about 1200 victims of molestation a year. They provide exams, counseling, that sort of thing.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Nothing But Nets (

This is one of my favorite organization to donate it. $10 (ten dollars) buys a net that protects up to FOUR people (a normal family) from malaria. Nothing But Nets saves lives against a disease that destroys quickly. Because so many organizations believe in their work, NBN has been endorsed by the NBA, Gates Foundation, and other non and religious organizations.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBEAT

Hi Jen!
Just went to try and give £1 (as in UK) and found that the site was set up only to accept dollars - as I didn't know what the crazy commission was going to be on my $1donation I didn't give but really want to take part! Can non-US residents give on this site, and is there a big charge for it?

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

wow, you are awesome. seriously, wow. and thanks for reminding people what it's really about, and doing what you can to help, which is lot considering how many people you reach. i'm in.
please consider donating to the humane society or some other animal rescue organization. animals suffer more when the economy turns rough and their families are forced to give them up because they can't afford to take care of them.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

Hey Jen & John!

Great idea!
Personally I'm partial to charities that give money to reading, I know of several in Canada but none I can think of in the USA.

WorldVision - You can buy chickens, olive trees, wells, education, or buy a girl out of sexual slavery.

Salvation Army
Children's Hospital charities (small plug for the Vancouver Children's Hospital which is currently building a new state of the art care centre for the children of British Columbia)

Habitat for Humanity - we all know plently of people who need a home.

KIVA - Microloans to assist people in other countries begin a business, which you then get paid back and can continuely re-loan to others.

There's thousands of great charities out there. Can't wait to see whom you pick for us.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My husband and I HATE cold weather. All I can think about lately is, "What are those men and women doing that don't have warm homes doing?!" Will you consider choosing a charity that ministers to the homeless in your area for one of your days?

I am so excited about this and I might cry every day that we do this because it reminds me what a spoiled brat I am. I'm definitely in!

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRebekah

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