Marlie Antonic has made it her goal to ensure all local children get a chance to blow out the candles and make a wish, one cake at a time.
The Denver resident started Brighter Birthdays in April, a non-profit organization that provides birthday cakes for needy children.
â€œBirthdays are something that have been neglected,â€ said Antonic. â€œIt can be stressful on who parents who donâ€™t have a lot of money.â€
Antonic came up with the idea after hearing stories of parents in between paychecks who couldnâ€™t afford to celebrate their childrenâ€™s special day.
While many local agencies were good about providing items for holidays such as Christmas and Easter, birthdays were much harder to fill.
Getting in touch with some friends, things just started to fall into place for Antonic. Her friend Robin Kiser runs a food distribution ministry through her church, Lake Norman Mission.
The organization distributes donated food items from local grocery stores to local churches in need.
When Antonic got in touch with them, she learned that most of the cakes they have end up going to waste.
â€œThey said that it was so strange that I called because they had all these beautiful cakes they donâ€™t know what to do with,â€ she said.
And so Brighter Birthdays was born. Still in its early stages, Antonic operates the agency out of her home, freezing the cakes in her freezer.
Every couple of weeks Antonic picks up donated cakes. They
Already she has given approximately 12 cakes to children, mostly through referrals she has received from friends, including A Place To Grow, East Lincoln Christian Ministry and East Lincoln Crisis Pregnancy. This fall she will be working with the 4-H program.
Antonic hopes itâ€™s just the beginning. Someday she plans to have entire parties for children, including hats, accessories and even gifts, Antonic has begun working with Sweet Things coffee shop in Denver to possibly hold parties there.
There are also hopes to eventually find a small office space to allow for storage and pick up of cakes.
She has already applied for a grant through the county and is waiting to hear if she received funding.
But as of right now itâ€™s just Antonic, her husband, Jay, and their four boys, Jason, Josh, Jordan and Jackson, ranging in age from 5 to 10.
Jay is currently working on a Web site. The boys can help only a little, but Antonic says they enjoy their momâ€™s new project.
â€œThey like it because they get to meet other kids,â€ she said.
Right now her biggest task is getting her unique organizationâ€™s name out there and hopefully receive community support through donations and referrals.
â€œFor them it would be tax deductible and for us it we would be able to bless a lot of children,â€™ she said.
She hopes that needy people in the area will take advantage of the service. Looking online she has only seen one other agency like it, one lady in Minnesota.
Although a lot of work, Antonic feels she is in the right place.
â€œI really feel the Lord leading me to do it,â€ she said.
Itâ€™s all worthwhile when she sees a childâ€™s wish come true.
â€œThey are just thrilled and you just tell that a burden has lifted off of them,â€ she said.
To contact Brighter Birthdays call Marlie Antonic at (704) 257-6673 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
by Mary Williams