Baking cakes, brightening birthdays

REED CITY – Each year, there is one day every child looks forward to – their birthday.

Many children residing at Eagle Village worry their birthday will go unnoticed and uncelebrated, said Megan, an Eagle Village resident. They don’t think anyone will send them a card, wish them a “happy birthday” or bake them a cake.

But for more than 30 years, every child at Eagle Village has received a birthday cake, a card and well wishes from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League at Trinity Lutheran Church in Reed City.

“A birthday card is always given with the cake with some wishes and a reminder that God is with them and he is very interested in them and loves them,” said Marge Giese, member of the league.

“At one point, we were just getting told ‘boy’ or ‘girl,’ and now we are getting names, so it makes it more personal,” added Rosalee Donley, league president. “I make sure the card has their name on it and I stick a birthday candle on the cake. I don’t know if they are allowed to light them or not, but I still stick it on there.”

What started as baking a handful of cakes each year has gradually grown to about 150 cakes. League members take turns baking, and invite members of the congregation and community to make cakes as well.

“It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a cake,” said Rosalee Donley, league president. “We have done cookies, cupcakes and brownies too. It’s any treat for the kids.”

“As we get older, we no longer have children who we are baking cakes for,” added Pat Glazier, member of the league. “We know how excited we were about baking our own children’s cakes, and baking a cake at my age is something I don’t get to do.”

At a regular meeting last month, the league surprised Megan, who will celebrate her 15th birthday this weekend, with a birthday cake.

“It’s nice just knowing there are people out there who are thinking about us,” Megan said. “Other girls since I’ve been there have gotten birthday cakes and they weren’t expecting it. They thought their birthdays were going to be miserable because they didn’t have anything, and the cakes really brightened their day.”

The women sang “Happy Birthday” to Megan and wished her God’s blessings after she shared with them her experience at Eagle Village.

“At first I didn’t want to be here,” Megan said. “I was mad that I came to Eagle Village and I didn’t know anything about it. I just looked at it as a punishment. When I got to Eagle Village, I realized a lot of kids there are going through the same things or know what each other are going through, and we really clicked.”

Meeting Megan and giving her a birthday cake was a special opportunity for the league, as it was the first time the women personally delivered a cake to a resident and saw their reaction.

“Usually I just drop the cakes off on my lunch,” Donley said. “I’m glad to hear they do appreciate getting a cake on their birthday.”