The holidays are near — very near. Therefore, 'tis the season to give. But it also happen to be the season to bake. Now, there’s a way to combine both. Below are a few organizations offering opportunities to bake for a cause — now that we can all stand being near an oven.
Mission Possible Cookies
Phoenix Rescue Mission is a shelter for people who, "struggle with trauma, addiction, and homelessness.” Every December, the organization bakes and sell cookies, with proceeds going back to the PRM shelter. Baking volunteers may choose from a morning shift (9 a.m. to noon) or afternoon shift (1 to 3 p.m.). If you don't want to play with cookie dough, fear not. There are other ways to help. You can package the cookies, prepare orders for shipping, and make shipping labels.
Those interested may sign up for the 2019 season online.
For Goodness Cakes
This organization matches volunteers to make and deliver birthday cakes to foster children and at-risk youth.
Leslie Nilsen, a mortgage broker by day, opened the Maricopa County Chapter of For Goodness Cakes in March 2019. She says her birthday is everything to her. So, when one of her clients — who had moved to Phoenix from California — asked for a big kitchen to bake cakes for foster kids, Nilsen was hooked.
Nilsen approached For Goodness Cakes in California and convinced them to open a chapter in Arizona — and even did the fundraising for it. So far they have baked and delivered over 500 cakes to 26 agencies in Maricopa County — including Southwest Human Development, Catholic Charities, and Family Support Resources.
Volunteers need only pass a food safety quiz to become part of the Sprinkle Squad. They then receive access to the calendar for requests, which can be for cakes or cupcakes with particular flavors and decorations. Just choose a project, bake, and deliver to the agency listed. Visit the For Goodness Cakes website to volunteer.
Cakes for Causes
This organization was started in Tucson by a retired scientist, Rene' Luedeman, and her husband in the aftermath of the 2011 Tucson mass shooting whose victims include Gabrielle Giffords. She was especially affected by the death of 9-year old Christina Taylor-Green, and wanted to “just go hug the people who were devastated by the shooting.” Instead, she started her own nonprofit organization, Cakes for Causes.
Their volunteer bakers create cakes to a variety of clientele, including chronically ill children at Banner Thunderbird Children's Hospital, Diamond Children's Medical Center, DMG Children's Rehabilitation Services, and the Tucson Air National Guard Base.
Volunteers are required to obtain a food handler's certification and register with the state under Arizona's Cottage Food Program (specifically the Arizona Home Baked and Confectionary Goods Program). The Phoenix chapter of Cakes for Causes says help is especially needed during the holiday season, and volunteers are given a small stipend for products. Donate funds, products, or your time via the Cakes for Causes website.
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Soldiers’ Angels is a nonprofit organization supporting soldiers overseas and veterans at home with its multiple programs. The objective is simple: Angel Baker Teams send care packages once a month to soldiers. Packages include cookies, brownies, and even store-bought snacks. While Soldiers’ Angels strives to send care packages to those who have requested home-baked goods, teams particularly focus on soldiers who’ve had a difficult time.
Those interested in participating may visit the Angel Baker Team web page for more information. And supply contributions are tax deductible, just FYI.