Ashley Boyd Gann
She left a successful career to create happy birthdays for children in need.
A few short years ago my wife, Ashley Gann, had never decorated a cake. That quickly changed when God brought cakes into her life. Although she had a graduate degree in Public Health and had a promising career, she began praying about how she was to integrate cakes into her life. We even considered buying a bakery. Eventually, she left her public health job and took an entry level position in a cake shop during wedding season. She promised the owners she would work there six months while she tried to figure out her next step. We promised ourselves we would increase the intensity of our prayers. It was then that she began feeling God tell her to “spend more time making a difference and less time making a living.”
After more prayer, a little research and inspiration from a Sunday morning sermon, Ashley founded Sweet Blessings, a nonprofit ministry which creates unforgettable birthday cakes for children living in poverty or with a life threatening illness. However, these aren’t any cakes. They are much more like those seen on a television show like “Cake Boss” than those seen in local grocery stores. The Sweet Blessings crew could easily sell its creations for hundreds of dollars. Instead, they give them away for free.
Since delivering its first cake to a resident of the Ronald McDonald House in February 2011, Sweet Blessings has made amazing birthday cakes for 2,250 area children. Some of these children were receiving their very first birthday cake even though they were turning double digits. Sadly, Sweet Blessings has also created the last birthday cake for some very sick children. Other children were homeless, living in a shelter, had a parent(s) incarcerated, living with a grandparent or aunt, had a parent pass away, and two children had a parent who had been murdered.
In case you are wondering how much of a difference a birthday cake can make to a child, here is an email my wife received from a kindergarten teacher:
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the cake you sent for my student, Dominic. He was so upset that he didn't have a cake for his birthday - it absolutely broke my heart - and then I remembered the emails about your cakes. He smiled from ear-to-ear yesterday when he saw the Batman cake. Today, he carried around the "Sweet Blessings" card that was enclosed with the cake. I asked him to put the card back in his folder several times, but he just kept getting it out and holding onto it like it was his most prized possession. Thank you for making cakes for children like Dominic. I'm sure you already know, but it leaves a profound and lasting impression of love on all of the children who receive your beautiful cakes. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.