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Lufkin woman expands birthday cake charity for underprivileged children

Cake Angels Foundation

A Lufkin woman is baking cakes – hundreds of them every year – to help disadvantaged children have a memorable birthday. Debbie Coleman started her nonprofit Cake Angels Foundation in 2010, and has since baked more than 1,300 cakes for children whose families can’t afford to buy them one. 

Coleman said in retirement it’s been her higher calling that was recently disrupted when she suffered a stroke earlier this month. The 55-year-old seeks volunteers who can assist her in cake decorating since she’s lost strength in her right hand. She aims to keep up with demand because, she said, cakes matter to kids.

“It doesn’t matter who gives these children a birthday cake. It’s all about the cake to them. You ask them what they want for their birthday, and they’re going to say, cake. So it means a lot to these kids to have something simple, like a birthday cake," Coleman said.

Coleman pays for the bulk of the operating overhead – from cake mixes to the gas it takes to deliver in a 50-mile radius. She estimates her nonprofit is spending about $18,000 a year, an amount that is bound to keep growing.

“I just try to touch the life of a child one cake at a time. If this year goes like last couple of years, we could look at close to 1,000 cakes this year," Coleman said.

Her charity has spread word of mouth and she’s teamed up with several East Texas agencies that assist families in need. The birthday cake is customized with the child’s name and the theme matches their interests. They also choose their favorite cake flavor.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.