COMMUNITY GEM: Kettering woman brings joy via Kiwanis Club of Dayton’s Cakes for Kids program

Birthday cakes brighten people’s days and an area woman wants to make sure all children get one on their birthday.

Kelly Brown of Kettering got the idea several years ago as she read a Dayton Daily News article about a nurse visiting an 8-year-old boy on behalf of Help Me Grow Brighter Futures, a no-cost system of support for pregnant women, caregivers with new babies and families with young children with developmental delays and disabilities.

“This little boy was sitting on the front porch ... and he tells the nurse ‘I’m so excited. Today’s my birthday. I am going to get my own bag of potato chips for myself for my birthday,” Brown said. “So that in itself when you think ‘Oh my gosh, all this child is getting is just getting a bag of potato chips for his birthday, that ... starts tugging at your heartstrings.”

When the nurse exited the home, the formerly joyous boy was visibly upset having learned he could not go to the store to get the treat, Brown said. That’s when the nurse went to her car and gave him a piece of chocolate cake for her own son’s birthday and the little boy was elated, she said.

The story made her think about other children who may never get a birthday cake and inspired her to start the Cakes for Kids program as a community service project of Kiwanis Club of Dayton. Now, Help Me Grow Brighter Futures refers possible cake candidates to Cakes for Kids and Evan’s Bakery in Dayton creates the smile-inducing treats for the program at a discounted rate.

Brown said Cakes for Kids helps generate joy.

“Joy is the one emotion or feeling that just continues if you feed off of each each other, right?” she said. “So you bring joy to someone that brings joy to you and it just continues it just amplifies

And I can tell you some of the homes that we have gone into are not happy homes and not secure homes, so to be able to bring the joy and the experience of feeling valued and celebrated to a little kid is it’s just it’s it’s indescribable.”

Cakes for Kids serves about 30 children a year, most of whom are 9 years old or younger, Brown said.

“The joy and happiness this simple act brings to the kids’ faces is all the reward Kelly needs,” said her younger sister, Heather Mitchell, who nominated her as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem.

Mitchell said her sister “always had a servant heart, from taking care of me and my other sister when we were growing up to donating her time and money to various charities.”

Brown said that as much as Cakes for Kids focuses on bringing joy to children, another part of its mission is to bring some relief to the parents so they don’t feel compelled to spend money that they may not have “as they, too, want their children to feel celebrated.”

“Our cakes bring joy to parents, too,” she said.

Brown said she was “really flattered” to be nominated as a Community Gem.

“It’s fun, it’s exciting and it’s unexpected and ... much appreciated,” she said.

Kiwanis Club of Dayton would love to expand the Kiwanis Cakes for Kids program, Brown said.

“For us to do this, we need additional people to join our club and our cause,” she said. “We have been serving the Dayton community for over 100 years and we want to keep bringing comfort and joy to kids for centuries to come.”

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