Interfaith Caregivers and Operation Cupcake Bring Smiles to Mercer County’s Homebound Seniors

By Roslyn Dashiell
November 25, 2013 – Hamilton, NJ – On a crisp afternoon in November, the office of Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County (ICGMC) was warm with smiles as the young ladies of Operation Cupcake make a bountiful delivery of more than 120 cupcakes.  They were prepared especially for Thanksgiving gift baskets for homebound seniors and people with disabilities in Mercer County – an outreach program of ICGMC now in its third year. 
“Even though the baskets consist primarily of food, along with a Shop Rite gift card, we refer to them as ‘gift’ baskets because they are professionally gift-wrapped by our team of volunteers to be presented as a gift of love,” said Lane Latini, Executive Director.  
The baskets are delivered to low-income seniors by ICGMC volunteers the weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday. This season’s Thanksgiving baskets include a special treat from the 6th graders who founded Operation Cupcake — Emma Bowers of St. Gregory the Great Academy and Nina Burden of Our Lady of Sorrows/St. Anthony School.  Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, this industrious duo formed Operation Cupcake — a charitable organization – with the original goal of “sharing a smile” with Hurricane victims along the shore.  Following this initial effort, the girls realized that there was a need to continue their work of delivering home-baked cupcakes that would bring smiles to many others in need.  Over the past year, they have delivered over 18,000 cupcakes to shore communities and areas of Burlington and Mercer counties.  Thanks to their efforts, this year’s Thanksgiving Gift Baskets from Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County will include a confectionary gift as well. 
About Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County
Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County (ICGMC) is a volunteer-powered nonprofit organization that serves hundreds of homebound elderly and people with disabilities through its Neighbors Helping Neighbors program each year.  In 2012, ICGMC volunteers from more than 25 interdenominational churches provided 11,821 hours of free caregiving to 319 Mercer County seniors and people with disabilities. Services included friendly home visiting, phone calls and respite care; transportation to medical and other appointments; administration and clerical assistance; shopping; indoor chores (paperwork, light housekeeping and meal preparation); outdoor chores, home repairs; and health and wellness education.  ICGMC also sponsors “Project Healthy Bones,” a wellness program that educates participants on the importance of exercise, nutrition, safety, drug therapy and lifestyle factors as they relate to osteoporosis.  Further information can be found at www.icgmc.org.
About Operation Cupcake
Operation Cupcake is a nonprofit organization that “shares a smile” by delivering home-made cupcakes directly to families and individuals in need, and through collaboration with other nonprofit and community-based organizations.  Operation Cupcake was founded by two fifth graders in 2012 following Superstorm Sandy in an effort to provide relief to victims of the storm along the New Jersey coastline.  In its first year of operation, Operation Cupcake has delivered over 18,000 cupcakes. Their efforts have supported food pantries, food drives, soup kitchens, fundraisers, and the outreach efforts of volunteer organizations, nonprofits, and outreach programs in New Jersey.  The girls have also held fundraisers to donate appliances, furniture, utensils, and other household goods to New Jersey residents in need.  Additional information on Operation Cupcake is available by going to their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OperationCupcakeNJ