Despite having made thousands of cupcakes over the past several years, Coons does not enjoy baking.
“I absolutely hate it!” she said.
Though baking itself is not a particularly enjoyable activity for Coons, she does enjoy seeing how much happiness the tiny baked goods bring to seniors in area nursing homes, senior centers and assisted living communities.
Since 2008, Coons has been delivering cupcakes to the elderly as part of her Cakes for Seniors program.
The idea for the program originated on her grandmother’s 80th birthday.
“We gave her a surprise 80th birthday party and when they brought out her cake, she looked at me and said that was the first birthday cake she had ever gotten,” Coons said. “After she passed away, I started it in her honor.”
What began as an effort to deliver birthday cakes to seniors quickly expanded. Staff at area nursing homes and senior centers began asking if Coons and her volunteers could provide cupcakes on holidays as well.
“It’s grown and grown and grown,” Coons said.
Now, with the help of more than 50 volunteers, Coons delivers between 2,000 and 2,800 cupcakes for every holiday depending upon the number of treats requested.
Before each holiday, Coons totals the requests and sends out an email to her list of volunteers. The volunteers respond with the number of cupcakes they are available to bake and decorate. The volunteers then take the cupcakes to Coons or another designated volunteer for delivery.
Some holidays result in an especially large number of requests, but Coons said she and her volunteers manage to get the job done.
“There are holidays where I have had to make 200 or 250 myself, but we always wind up getting pretty close to what we need,” she said.
Coons said nursing home staff often operate on shoestring budgets and are grateful for any assistance they receive.
“Sometimes those cupcakes are the only things they get for that particular holiday,” Coons said.
While the staff is grateful, the elderly recipients are even more so. Coons said she even has some seniors who post watch for “the cake lady” on the days she is scheduled to make a delivery.
“It’s so funny to watch them,” Coons said. “They’re like kids. They pick out the ones that are decorated the best.”
The most popular flavor among the senior set?
“Chocolate. They all want the chocolate,” she said.
In addition to delivering cupcakes, Coons also delivers other donated items such as clothing, toiletries, robes and pajamas.
“A lot of the nursing homes have residents that are on Medicaid or indigent. They cannot afford to cloth themselves,” she said. “If they’ve got somebody that is in need, we’ll take whatever they need.”
With the holidays rapidly approaching, Coons is seeking additional volunteers.
Locally, Cakes for Seniors delivers cupcakes to the Barrow County Senior Center and Winder Healthcare. Cakes for Seniors also assists nursing homes and senior centers in Gwinnett and Hall counties.
Anyone interested in baking, providing cake mix and frosting or helping with deliveries should call Coons at 770-633-6464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coons said the cupcakes are much appreciated and bring a little bit of sunshine into the life of area seniors.
“It’s so small, but it makes them so happy,” she said.