Thank you for visiting our website! My name is Gabe and I am 15 years old. These days most people call me “Gabe the Cake Man” because of my love for cake decorating and because my sister and I completed a project to renovate a hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo by making cakes for people who donated to the project.
In October 2013, my sister Livvy who was 9, got the mail and before taking it to our grandmother who lives with us, looked through the Samaritan’s Purse catalog that had come to our grandmother. In years before this, “Gram”, as we call her, would make Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes with us. But on that year, Livvy and I saw that we could get two chickens for a poor family for $14. We decided to make cupcakes and offer them for donations toward the chickens at our neighborhood yard sale. We ended up raising $35 at the yard sale!
We then looked in the catalog and decided to see if we could raise another $35 to get to $70 for a goat. This time we asked our cousins if anyone would donate. Within a day we had all the money for the goat. This was working out so well, we decided to go for $150 for medical supplies instead of stopping with the goat. Livvy and I decided I should put up a message on my facebook page that I would make a cake for anyone who would donate. The next day, after talking it over we told our mom that we knew we could get the $150. Since we knew that we would be able to accomplish the goal, it didn’t take any faith in God to make it happen. We told her we were undecided as to whether we should trust God to help us raise $10,000 for a water purifier or for $35,000 for a hospital building project. As you probably noticed with the first paragraph, we settled on going for the hospital project.
Within the first few days of announcing our goal on facebook, we had received enough cake orders to have $350! It was at that point that Livvy and I knew God was going to help us do this! By New Year’s Eve of 2013, we had raised 15% because many children had stepped up to help us. Livvy and I had come up with what we call “The Number One Team”, which was a team of 100 people we were trying to inspire to raise 1% of the project ($350). What actually happened is that some children couldn’t raise all 1%, but what they did raise by baking cookies with their mom or donating their birthday to the project and asking for the money that would have been spent on presents to go to the project, was 1% for them. For example, two little boys who were only 4 and 5 years old, made cookies with their mom and raised $162! We were so excited to have raised over $4000 by then, we threw a really fun party with our friends and the people that had been helping us.
My sister got engaged on January 4, 2014. Livvy and I really wanted to make her wedding cake but I knew I didn’t have all the skills needed. In 2012 I had met Chef David Dodd at Sullivan Culinary School. I asked my mom if she would call him and ask if I could talk to one of his students to find out what things I needed to know about making a wedding cake. When Chef Dodd heard about our project he invited us to the Bakery to make a three tier wedding cake and the three serving sheet cakes with Chef Richardson who runs The Bakery and her apprentice, Chef Lamb! In May, Livvy and I spent three days at The Bakery making the cakes and learning how to stencil a pattern on the wedding cake. Chef Dodd was really impressed that by then we had raised over $12,000 so he called the television stations to come film us making the cakes. I think that Chef Richardson said it was on the news 12 times!
In the beginning of June of 2014 donations had slowed down so Livvy and I decided to fast from sugar for a week so we could concentrate on praying and asking God what He would like us to do next to raise the rest of the money. Within an hour of starting our fast, the Food Network called us to see if we would like to be on their Kid Cooking Challenge show. They had seen us on tv because of the wedding cake. We said, “no” to that offer because we thought this would be a distraction and because we were trying to give God all the glory for the project. This seemed like it would give us the glory. Before another hour had even gone by, the Muhammad Ali Center called and asked us if we would like to be part of their upcoming press conference to announce the A-list singer they were bringing to Louisville for their Congo14 celebration that would be in September. We prayed about this for a day and decided to say yes. We knew that we would be able to tell about our project and to be able to say we were doing it for God. We made a cake for the press conference with the Congo14 logo on it. This gave us another excuse to go back to the Bakery at Sullivan so we could learn how to put a sugar sheet of the image on the cake!
We continued to make cakes for people who were donating. In July, Livvy and I went to the four sessions of elementary church camp to be the “summer missionaries”. The campers watched our videos and we performed a skit explaining what we were trying to do. We also brought about 260 cupcakes each week for the campers. These children donated their $.75 snack tokens and gave $2750!
That same month, our friend Anna held a huge yard sale for us and raised $2,000! About 50 families donated items to be sold at the yard sale!
The Ali Center asked Livvy and I to speak about our project at the Humanitarian Awards in September and to donate a cake to be auctioned off at their silent auction. Again, Chef Richardson let us come print the sugar sheet and our friend Denise at Big Idea Media Group helped us make a logo to put on that cake. Livvy and I spoke in front of 750 people, many of them celebrities and told about our project. In fact, we sat at the same table as Robbie Novak (Kid President)! After the ceremony, a man in the audience told the CEO of the Ali Center, Donald Lasare, that he was so impressed with our project and presentation, he wanted to donate the rest of the money that we needed. At that time we had raised $22,048. About a week later, the man anonymously donated $12,827, bringing us to $35,000! We actually went over the amount because we already had a craft bazaar scheduled. We ended up celebrating reaching our goal at the bazaar. The Chick-fil-a cow came and we partied it up, thanking GOD for how He had made everything work together!
If you would like to read all the details about our project, you can read our blogposts and my Facebook page. We have also made a timeline of the most important events, if you would like a quick overview. Our big lessons were: GOD WILL DO BIG THINGS when you put forth a little bit of faith; ANYONE no matter how young or old can do SOMETHING to serve God and others and something we chose to believe right from the beginning…by not letting anyone look down on our age, we were able set an example for others in speech, in conduct, in faith, in love and in purity, like 1 Timothy 4:12 talks about.