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)

I have started volunteering at Give Kids the World. I plan to work one shift every week. My son will turn twelve soon and that is the youngest age you can volunteer there. He can't wait to join me. What a great organization.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCCM

Also, if you are still looking for great Christmas gifts go to . They sell wonderful products (fair trade, environmentally friendly, women's coop etc.) and you can choose which of several charities will benefit from your purchase. All of the charities have been vetted. I bought through the literacy site this year and my purchase funded several books. You could end up providing cups of food, health services, animal rescues, help for veterans, cancer research etc.

I've bought beautiful jewelry & scarves from them in years past & been very happy. This year I got my kids' teachers' gifts of chocolate and tea from the site.

Jen & John - thanks again this year for encouraging us Wreckie Henchpersons to give back.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

It's good that you aren't going through Paypal after the Regretsy fiasco.

There are SOOOO many good charities here!!!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDread Pirate Robyn

One of my favorite charities is The Girl Effect. It encourages girls and gives them opportunities to stay in school and get an education and benefits women and girls world wide, making their communities stronger.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle K

When I worked and lived in Honduras, I frequently saw disabled people who struggled to be mobile on dirt-and-rock streets. One man in particular I remember. His legs were dismembered at different lengths between his groin and his knee. He had created a cardboard pad for his torso to rest on and make-shift suspenders to keep it on his body. Somehow he had gotten a pair of Perfect Push-Up hand grips, and he used those to help him drag his body around town. Before the Perfect Push-Up grips, he just used his hands. He was very thin but strong, and had to manuever around cars, horse-drawn carts, bicycles, pedestrians, human and animal waste, and various other obstacles, such as potholes which could have concealed a volleyball.

Thank you for featuring Free Wheelchair Mission.

PLEASE do building homes for heroes, so many of our guys will be coming back from Iraq and
Afhghanistan who need a place to live, they build handicapped accessible homes free of charge, they are great please mention them.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

A charity near and dear to my heart is the MISS Foundation ( They support families who have lost a child, anywhere from miscarriage, stillbirth and early infant death to teenagers. Their support and hearing the founder, Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, speak were instrumental in helping me through the grief of losing my first baby to stillbirth.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Wow, what amazing organizations. I'll be bookmarking this!

Some writer friends and I have put a Christmas book together to help raise money for the college funds of the daughters of murder victim Sam LaCara. Here's a link to the Facebook page that explains more:

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie Laurie Cechini

Cake Wrecks gives us wreckies so much -- daily laughter, Sunday Sweets, a place to play -- thanks for the opportunity to give something back....

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermel

I joined and highly recommend Foundation Beyond Belief
It's been great. They do the legwork of finding worthy causes, and I don't get buried in fundraising requests from all those charities.

Foundation Beyond Belief is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation created to focus, encourage and demonstrate humanist generosity and compassion. They select and feature ten charitable organizations per quarter, in the following cause areas: Health, Education, Poverty, Environment, Children, Human Rights, Animals, Peace, Challenge the Gap (charities based in other worldviews). and Foundation Beyond Belief operations.

Members set up personal profiles to indicate how they would like their contribution distributed among the ten categories.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRian

Thank you SO MUCH for supporting Love 146 again. You made me aware of them in 2009 when you did your first drive and they touched my heart, having had personal experience with the problem. I've been supporting them ever since and appreciate every bit of support. No one should ever be forced into slavery, especially into sexual slavery.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCorinna

A charity/foundation that's near to my heart is the Children's Tumor Foundation at They are raising money to attempt to find a cure for neurofibromatosis.

For those that don't know, NF is a genetic disorder of the nervous system which causes tumors to form on the nerves anywhere in the body at any time. This progressive disorder affects all races, all ethnic groups and both sexes equally. People with NF can have a host of issues because of the tumors, including blindness, deafness, deformed limbs, scoliocis, etc.

My son, who is 3, has 3 tumors in his brain because of this disease. So, if you feel the urge, please donate to the Children's Tumor Foundation.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

It's great to hear about some new (to me) charities! I'll throw in my favorites: The National MS Society (or your local chapter), which is near & dear to my heart because my sister has MS. Also any group supporting veterans - here in Cleveland I just learned about a group called Wags 4 Warriors that provides therapy and service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD or TBI (another cause near & dear; my husband is a vet).

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen_Ann_W

I plan to donate to all of the charities with my kids this year.

I want to bring attention to Our Military Kids ( They provide up to $500 in grants to children with a parent who is a member of the National Guard or Reserve who is deployed or a Wounded Warrior. Grants can be used to cover athletics, arts, and tutoring programs. They have never had to turn down a qualifying applicant.
My children benefitted from this charity while my husband was deployed. My daughter was able to continue dance, my older son started piano, and our youngest tried gymnastics. Since I was unable to work during the deployment we couldn't have afforded it without the grants. The activities helped them deal with their fathers deployment and they were very proud to show him what they learned while he was gone.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergoog

Thank you for supporting TWLOHA. They've helped me and countless others through rough times.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

A great cake-related charity is Icing Smiles. They bring celebration cakes to sick and terminally ill children.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Cup a Dee Cakes

These are great. I would like to suggest folks look at Fellow Man International of Honduras. This is a faith based organization that provides medical, educational and economic growth for the peoples of the mountains in Honduras.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermla314

Give kids the world is so important to me! My son took his wish trip there 2 years ago. He was diagnosed with cancer a month after his 2nd birthday. We go back once a year to, and when the kids are older we will start to volunteer there yearly! It is heaven on earth for kids and families that have gone through the worst! I can not speak up about GKTW enough!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKat

I wish I had a dollar to donate. As is, if something doesn't happen soon, I have about $200 dollars to last me for the next two months. :(((
(Don't worry, it's not that bad, it's just my student financial aid is running out. At least my mom is letting me live with her for now.)

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I'm so glad you're doing this again this year!

I recently started supporting Freedom Service Dogs ( They train rescue dogs to help people in various ways, and any dogs who don't make it through the program are found good homes. With all the soldiers coming home, the demand for service dogs -- both for injury-related issues and to help with PTSD -- is rising.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

I work for a non-profit called KaBOOM! that is pretty fantastic. They help particularly low income communities build playgrounds and support the cause of play cause it's great for kids' health, physically, socially, and emotionally. It's a great cause! This is a great selection of charities. I love that they're all pretty non-partisan, no Salvation army or anything.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has always been my charity of choice. I first learned about them in my French textbook in high school, of all places. They provide independent, impartial assistance in places that don't necessarily receive international attention, and are funded almost entirely by private funders, which allows them to remain neutral and independent.

MSF also speaks out about what its teams witness in the field to advocate for its patients. The organization recieved the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Give Kids the World is an awesome place. We were just there in November for my daughter's wish. An incredible place that makes sick/terminally ill children feel normal and special. We cried when we left. We plan on going back to visit and volunteer. :)

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

My co-worker has had several amazing service dogs to assist her in daily life through Canine Companions for Independence.

A thousand thanks for your efforts to make this easy for us to do. (However, you now owe me half a box of Kleenex.) I went back to each page to make sure I hadn't missed one and we'd already increased from 8% to 9% on one of the charities!!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

I absolutely love this. I lost my job this past September and am draining my savings as I look for a new job. But that is not going to stop me from donating. Because, a dollar isn't that much. If I can spend a dollar buying a candy bar, or 8 going to the movies, I can donate it and make some good happen. And maybe rethink that candy bar.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Caroline is right about KaBoom! being a great charity! My roller derby team got to help build a playground in our community that was sponsored by KaBoom!!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDread Pirate Robyn

Thank you for doing this again this year! And thank you for putting them all at once - I missed some last year because of traveling. Wreckerators wrock!!! Merry Christmas to all!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoni

Hi, Jen,

Can people outside the US give to the charities? I'm in the UK, but I'd still like to contribute if I can.


December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

I would like to mention Save the Mothers. It was founded by my dear friend Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese, an OBGYN in Ontario, Canada. Save the Mothers is focused on lowering the horrifically high maternal mortality rates in developing countries - unbelievable numbers of women die needlessly in childbirth due to preventable diseases and poor medical practices, leaving their (sometimes large) families without a parent/caregiver and significantly worsening the family's chances of survival. Save the Mothers trains local doctors and midwives in hygienic birthing practices, among other things. It's a very simple task, and yet it makes such a huge difference. Your support would be very much appreciated.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStriderGirl

My favorite foundation is the Timothy O'Connell Foundation, founded in memory of my friend and hero, Tim. Tim fought Acute Myelogenous Leukemia for a year and a half, and passed away in 2008 at the age of 10.

The foundation supports programs and projects designed to research cures for acute myeloid leukemia and other cancers affecting children; also provides financial assistance to charities devoted to the needs of cancer patients who are under the age of eighteen (18) and their families, and provides scholarship and fellowship grants to persons, including graduates of public schools of Holliston, Massachusetts (Tim’s hometown), who are dedicated to researching treatments of and cures for acute myeloid leukemia and other cancers affecting children.

Tim's Team provides invaluable support to children with cancer and their families. Check out more information here:

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterM

Chesapeake Cats & Dogs is an all-volunteer animal rescue dedicated to "Working to provide a life of love and dignity for all animals". They are a 501(c)3 registered non-profit and donations are welcomed, needed and tax deductible.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

I love Watoto, a mission in Uganda, Africa, whose statement in three words is Rescue, Restore, Rebuild. This organization rescues orphans of war and disease in that country, as well as give opportunity and hope to vulnerable (HIV-infected) women. Their orpahnages are actual villages, with housing, clinic, school, church...more info is at

Another wonderful charity is Invisible Children, based here in my hometown of San Diego, which is doing a tremendous work with rescuing and rehabilitating/healing child soldiers of Uganda and the Sudan.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlaura

Also check out BeadforLife - give gifts that give TWICE! Help women living in extreme poverty in Uganda earn an income and give beautiful gifts. Prices start at just $4 and $5! to shop! to check out other ways to help out!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgia

Thanks for posting these! I appreciate you taking the time to check them out -- I give more to charity when I don't have to do the work myself of figuring out who will use the funds wisely.

(One thing I did find out: our Kroger supermarket has donation cards at the checkout for local food banks this time of year, and I confirmed that this does all go to the food bank -- so this one is safe too.)

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermouse

Check out

For The Silent is a non-profit organization contending – through advocacy, prayer, and fundraising initiatives – for children silenced by sexual exploitation and trafficking.

We are runners, singers, and artists, prayers, advocates, crafters. We are people who truly believe that HOPE comes when we react to the heart of God and act on behalf of the suffering.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelodee

Yay for this years list! One that I donate to is Child's Play, which I believe you have featured before. You can give money of course, but each hospital has a wish list on amazon that you can purchase from and it ships directly to that hospital. I like doing that because then I know that my "gift" is going straight to those who need it.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLittlecreek

May I recommend The Adventure Project?
Their mission/vision is pretty amazing-- The Adventure Project is a non-profit organization established to increase investments in positive social enterprises around the world. "We believe we can end extreme poverty in our lifetime by reinventing how we give. Ways that spur economic opportunity, promote dignity, & save lives. A journey to end extreme poverty by supporting the world’s most effective social ventures."

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrianna

Give Kids the World recently hosted a blogger friend of mine, Beth, and her son Keegan, who has been battling a brain tumor. Keegan passed away last week, but the memories they were able to make at GKTW are priceless, I'm sure. Each of these charities are fantastic, but, having a brain tumor fighter of my own, I am particularly fond of this one now. You guys are awesome.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrandi

I work for a non-profit, The Coffee Oasis in Bremerton, WA. We are a ministry supported by business. We work with homeless and at risk youth (ages 13-25). The coffee shop exists as a local business (all procedes go back into the community) but doubles as a youth center where kids can come hang out every day. Those in need can recieve resources such as showers, laundry, tutoring, job training, etc by entering into case management, setting goals, and meeting with a mentor weekly to be encourages and evaluate progress. Starting in January we will begin a remodel to create the first teen shelter in Kitsap County, safe, temporary houseing for kids who need it. Check out our web-site for more details. You can even buy products that support the ministry!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPontipee

I encourage everyone who plans to give, to visit this un-biased website to see how these charities spend their money.

[Editor's note- Great idea, GB. Jen and I have worked hard to make sure we agree with the way these charities work but it's only responsible to do the research yourself. -john]

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGB

Oh no, why do you have to support TWLOHA? They have a history of supporting Mercy Ministries, a "charitable" organization that tries to turn gay people straight through "therapy" (coercive means). Please remove them from your list.

[Editor's note- Sid, we hear this every year. TWLOHA cut ties with Mercy almost three years ago when they learned of their practices. The internet continues to spread the rumors but they simply aren't true. I can't tell you how many emails we get every year praising TWLOHA from people who they've helped directly. Regardless, Jen and I always encourage our readers to research the charities we post and only give to those you feel comfortable with. -john]

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSid

Every year my (now) fiance' and I donate $100 each to St. Jude's Children Hospital, and GRREAT - Golden Retriever Rescue, Education, and Training (where we adopted our rescue from). They're a wonderful organization determined to save and find a good home for every golden retriever, no matter their medical condition. Also, we go to the Hack and Slash Christmas show in Maryland, where they donate all proceeds to Operation Smile and Charity Water. Fun and helping a good cause? Yes please!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessie

I commented on this last year, but I really would urge you to find a more worthy organization than Heifer - at best, they give livestock to families that can't afford to care for them, and at worst, deliver dead chickens. Their pamphlets are also greatly exaggerated.

Please do some additional research into this organization.

[Editor's note- Hi Kimberly. We have researched these charities to death. Hours upon hours of reading about sick kids and starving people and burn victims and I just sit there and cry. And every year, people criticize us for supporting this charity or that charity because it doesn't meet their expectations for one reason or another. But we're trying. We're doing our best. If you don't like Heifer, I understand and I'm sorry, but please give to something. -john]

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

Give Kids the World rocks!! My totally-awesome-leukemia-survivor 7-YO daughter got to go last year (and the rest of the fam got to join in) thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation--- it was indescribable. Just the perfect treat for a family that has been through hell and back (chemo, hospital stays, you name it). The volunteers were wonderful and kind- they thought of everything. It was a blast- we heart GKTW and CakeWrecks!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah King

Would I seem silly if I admit that I've been looking forward to this for the past 6 months? I love what you do here - so glad you're keeping the tradition going :D

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna N

Might I recommend Kids With Food Allergies ( all those kids who would love to eat cake - even the wrecked ones - but can't bc it will literally kill them. KFA offers support to families who are affected by food allergies and is an invaluable resource, especially for those new to the allergy world. Food allergies are so misunderstood and much of it is due to a lack of education and compassion from those who don't have to deal with this problem every day.

Until then, my son (allergies to egg and peanut, recently outgrew milk) will continue to have an ugly birthday cake every year - bc I can make it taste good, but I can't make it look pretty!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

You guys made me aware of this charity in I think your first charity drive back in 2009, maybe 2010. Puffy Paws Kitty Haven is a non-profit haven that takes in cats, most of them unadoptable (they have an entire section for feline leukemia positive kitties that is separate from the main Haven). The are completely transparent in all their dealings. They don't make a salary. They run a thrift store to help support themselves, but are usually need a little extra help for the kitties. Their thrift store even operates a community service program to give kids assigned court-ordered community service a safe way to do their time. Please consider mentioning them again. Thank you.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Persellin

I know that at least 2 other people have mentioned it all ready but definitely check out KaBOOM! at In the end kids who didn't have a playground get their own brand new dream playground but the whole process involves a lot of community building as well. They are a fantastic organization!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

When you had posted the results and photos from the last time I gave to Charity:Water, I was in tears all day. I couldn't conceive of how my measly pennies could so totally change lives! THANK YOU for providing us a place to conglomerate our money to help the world! I'm proud to be a Wreckie!!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJinx

To Write Love on Her Arms is a great choice, thank you.

With all due respect, cos I love you muchly, but I am repelled by the Heifer Int'l because animals in other countries are subjected to inhumane conditions and have zero protection under the law. =(

You're sweet to do this, thanks so much.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteralexa

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