By ANNA BROWN
Volunteers baking birthday cakes for terminally ill patients aren’t just bakers, they are “Care Bakers.”
On March 9, the cake baking program was begun for every hospice patient being cared for by Hospice Care of South Carolina in Union County. Angie Beaty, community relations director, said 42 patients received cakes.
“As the baker prepares the cake we ask that you pray for the individual and their family that your cake will be going to,” she said. “Also pray for our staff, plus all medical staff that cares for this patient. And please don’t forget to pray for others within our community that may need our services; no one should have to be alone when facing the end of life.”
Ms. Beaty said the idea for the program came to her one day while she was on the road. She said that according to figures from 2008, 40 percent of those who passed away in Union County died without using hospice services, which are free of cost.
“Forty percent of our citizens died alone — this doesn’t have to happen,” she said. “We are here to help.”
Ms. Beaty said a request was sent out for volunteers to bake cakes for hospice patients on their birthday. On March 9, however, everyone received a cake, birthday or not. A list has been compiled of Care Bakers. One week before a patient’s birthday the Care Baker will be contacted and advised of the need. Also, once a quarter starting in April, cakes will be baked for all patients.
Hospice Care of South Carolina schedules a time to pick up the cake from the baker’s home or the baker can deliver the cake to the local office. Volunteers then will deliver the cake to the patient’s home for them to enjoy with family and friends.
“While we may not be able to provide you with the patient’s name and information due to confidentiality concerns, we can certainly provide the patient with the name of who their ‘Care Baker’ is,” Mrs. Beaty said.
Mrs. Beaty said she was pleased with the initial turnout.
“We are blessed to have so many caring individuals that truly want to make a difference for others within our community,” she said. “We had volunteers that baked cakes and volunteers that took time for their day to deliver cakes. The response was overwhelming! Our patients and their families enjoyed a nice surprise, it let them know that others within the community cared about them.”
Churches who agreed to volunteer “Care Bakers” include Bogansville UMC, Morningside Baptist, Philippi Baptist, Tabernacle Baptist, Mt. Lebanon Baptist and Victory Baptist. Hospice Care Advisory Board and Union County Disabilities and Special Needs Board members also volunteered to bake cakes.
“Any group with an office, church or civic group, we’d love to have them involved,” Mrs. Beaty said. “We are always looking for more volunteers.”
Darlene Gregory is one “Care Baker.” She said she was so impressed by the compassionate care provided to her mother, Christine Vinson, by Hospice Care. Mrs. Vinson passed away in November. Mrs. Gregory said CNAs came to care for her mother five days a week and a nurse visited twice a week.
“Every time they left they would kiss her on the head and tell her they loved her,” she said. “You could tell they meant it. It was warm and heartfelt. Mama would tell them she loved them back.”
Mrs. Gregory baked a cake with homemade caramel icing and volunteered to deliver other cakes.
“The people are precious that you meet and our heart goes out to them,” she said.
(Anyone wanting more information on becoming a “Care Baker” or volunteering in some other way with Hospice Care of South Carolina may call 429-4827 for more information. Hospice Care is located on 408 North Duncan By-Pass in the Merchant’s Walk Shopping Center.)