And now, here’s one bright outcome to a rather sobering story about being young and poor.
MPR listener Veronica Descotte was in the car when she heard my piece on the rising child poverty rate in Brooklyn Park.
Descotte listened as a choked-up Evelyn Goodman, shown above in a photo by MPR’s Jeff Thompson, described the sense of guilt she carried because she couldn’t afford to buy a cake or a present for her daughter’s 17th birthday.
“You now what we did for her birthday? We sat in the house, and looked at the four walls. And I felt so bad,” Goodman said. “It was the worst feeling ever. I had to explain it to her. She was understanding, but I could tell she was hurt. No cake, no nothing.”
Descotte, a biologist by trade who works for a venture capitalist firm, said something clicked in her head when she heard Goodman utter those last four words — “no cake, no nothing.”
“If I had known, I would have driven a cake over,” Descotte, 30, told me this week. “It’s something so small for me to do, and it would have made a difference for them.”
The Macalester College grad with a sweet tooth, pictured at left, says she’s a big believer in birthdays. The demands of her day job — reviewing business plans and choosing companies to invest in — keep her busy. But she says she had been hankering to do something on the side that could help others. Her love for cakes grew out of her mother’s kitchen in Argentina.
Descotte emailed me a few days after the story ran, asking if I could put her in touch with Goodman. She said Goodman’s story inspired her to start a new nonprofit, called Cakes on Wheels — and she wanted Goodman and her family to receive the inaugural cake.
Goodman gave me permission to share her contact information with Descotte. On Wednesday, Descotte delivered two homemade cakes: white chocolate with raspberry mousse and a marble cake with dark chocolate ganache. One was for Goodman’s oldest daughter, Rakeshia, and the other was for Raneshia, who turned 12 this week.
The family wasn’t home at the time, so Descotte left the cakes on their front door, “like the cake fairy,” Descotte said.
When the family did come home, Goodman said her kids jumped and screamed at the sight of the confections on their doorstep.
“It just felt good. It was thoughtful that she thought of us,” she said of Descotte. “We’re thankful for what we got.”
As for the cake fairy, Descotte said she’s building on her venture capital experience and relying on business advice from people in her network as she builds her nonprofit. And she’s on the lookout for other families who might be in need of birthday sweets. You can contact her through her new website or on Facebook.
(photos courtesy of Veronica Descotte)