Providing custom cakes to children with critical illnesses is something that Icing Smiles is proud of doing. This non profit organization's unique approach makes a lasting impact not only on children but families as well. Find out more about this organization in this exclusive interview with Executive Director, Tracy Quisenberry.
Interview with Icing Smile's Executive Director Tracy Quisenberry
LoveToKnow (LTK): Can you give a brief background on how Icing Smiles got its start?
Tracy Quisenberry (TQ): Icing Smiles brings together my long held passion for service to families affected by childhood illness with my newly discovered ability to turn cake batter and icing into smiles and joy. My work on behalf of critically ill children and their families began while I was a college student. The concept for Icing Smiles was born from a strong desire to use my passion for service. God cleared a path and made it clear that it is my calling to create these memories for children whose world is rocked by illness. For some, it may be the first cake designed just for them because it was not a priority for the family caring for a sick sibling. For others, it may provide a momentary distraction from the sights and smells of the hospital (nothing like the smell of fresh buttercream). For others, this may be their last birthday cake.
LTK: How is your organization funded?
TQ: We are currently funded by myself and a handful of individual donors. It is a tough time to start a non profit and the funding is lagging behind the interest. We are eligible for the Pepsi Refresh Grant in August 2010 which would allow us to capitalize on the interest and expand to all states where we have volunteers ready to go.
LTK: What bakeries do you partner with?
TQ: We have a wide range of experience levels helping us with our mission. On one end, we get emails from hobby bakers that just started decorating to many of the TLC bakers that we consider the best in the country.
LTK: What states do you serve?
TQ: We are most active in Ohio as that is where we were founded but we have enthusiastic volunteers in 42 states.
About the Cakes
LTK: How do you pick what kids will receive cakes?
TQ: The children eligible to receive cakes must be battling a life threatening illness or have an illness that requires frequent hospitalization. Siblings of these children are also eligible.
LTK: How can someone request a cake for a child?
TQ: Currently cakes can be requested by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We just need basic information like date and city, state. We get back in touch with more details.
LTK: Do any of the cakes stand out and if so can you describe a few?
TQ: To be honest, all of our cakes stand out in some way, either because of the bravery of the child, the selflessness of the sibling or the incredible generosity of the volunteer baker. You can meet all of our kids and see how each has impacted us on our website under the tab, "Our Kids."
LTK: Does Icing Smiles have any fundraisers or special events?
TQ: Because of our incredible network of volunteer bakers, we expect that our primary fundraiser will be a series of bake sales. We are always open to volunteers hosting fundraisers of other types and have plans for several smaller local fundraisers. We have ideas for more grand scale events but they require money to raise money. Our funds currently need to be dedicated to serving the kids.
LTK: How can people get involved and help?
TQ: Volunteers can contact me at email@example.com with their contact information and interests. I will get back to them with what we have available.
LTK: What else would you like to share with the readers?
TQ: The impact of our cakes was so much more than I ever anticipated. These cakes provide the family with an opportunity to create a positive memory during a time they would rather forget. Please visit our site to see how we are "Baking a Difference" and follow us as we grow by "liking" us on Facebook or joining our mailing list.
LoveToKnow Charity would like to thank Tracy Quisenberry for sharing information about this unique organization with readers and wishes her and Icing Smiles continued success!