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News / Business / Clark County Business

Sprinkling generosity: Vancouver woman bakes and donates cakes for end-of-life celebrations and ‘heavenly birthdays’

Jenn Hubbard aims to start Sprinkle Gang nonprofit to be able to do more

By Mia Ryder-Marks, Columbian staff reporter
Published: May 28, 2024, 6:07am
5 Photos
Jenn Hubbard decorates a cake May 21 at Hubbard&rsquo;s house in Vancouver. Hubbard began baking after her diabetic daughter beat kidney cancer and she wanted to make her a custom cake to celebrate.
Jenn Hubbard decorates a cake May 21 at Hubbard’s house in Vancouver. Hubbard began baking after her diabetic daughter beat kidney cancer and she wanted to make her a custom cake to celebrate. (Photos by Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

In a routine she’s mastered, Jenn Hubbard diligently coats a cake with pink frosting, pipes intricate lines and finishes it with sprinkles of edible glitter around the edges.

Hubbard, 39, also sprinkles generosity to those around her. Although she bakes professionally, she donates cakes to end-of-life celebrations or grieving families on the birthday of a late child. She is in the process of starting a nonprofit called Sprinkle Gang. Obtaining nonprofit status will help Hubbard donate cakes to people full-time and reach a wider audience, she said.

“This work is so important to me. I won’t ever stop helping people or quit giving people these blessings,” Hubbard said.

It all started a few years ago when Hubbard’s then-4-year-old daughter was battling stage four kidney cancer. Hubbard said people in the community came together and helped her through the trying time.

Learn more

To learn more about Sprinkle Gang and Jenn Hubbard, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-support-the-creation-of-sprinkle-gang.

Hubbard wanted to pay people back for their generosity and began gifting them cakes.

“It was the roughest time in our life,” she said. “That was my way to give back to people, and it was something I’m really good at.”

Her daughter beat cancer, and Hubbard’s passion for donating her baked goods carried on.

She keeps a scrapbook of all of her cakes. She flips through them one by one, each multicolored page has a story: One is Summer Day Mayo.

Mayo first met Hubbard in 2017. Mayo was looking for a birthday cake for her daughter and stumbled across Hubbard’s page. Mayo’s son, Rainin, died of cancer later that year.

The two kept in touch over the years, and Hubbard reached out to make a cake for Rainin’s “heavenly birthday.”

Hubbard made a red cake — Rainin’s favorite color — with balloons and a photo of him on his last birthday.

“It was very heartwarming,” Mayo said. “It’s been seven years since my son has been gone so for people to still participate and help still, it makes me want to cry thinking about it. She’s just a really good person.”

Earlier this year, a fallen power line killed a 15-year-old boy, his pregnant 21-year-old sister and her boyfriend during a severe ice storm in Portland. Hubbard reached out to the family and asked if she could donate a couple of cakes to the celebrations of life.

“Jenn was one of the first people to reach out and say “If I can help you in any way, please let me know.’ She’s a solid person who is trying to help and using her platform in any way that she can,” said Lavern Watson III, a cousin of the siblings who died.

Although baking is Hubbard’s passion and she loves it, the process can take a toll on her.

“I’ll be making a cake for someone and I have to stop, take a break and cry,” Hubbard said. “I’m a very emotional person. My feelings are probably more raw than my ingredients. But it’s important for me to show families that somebody cares for them during those difficult times.”

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.