Albury-Wodonga Cake Angels a hit at Special Children's Christmas Party

Seriously ill children, more than anyone, should be able to have their cake and eat it.

And they can because of a Border group that provides a sweet treat to cheer up youngsters and families doing it tough.

Cake Angels is an Australian not-for-profit organisation where volunteers custom make cakes for children referred by charity and health agencies.

The idea began in Melbourne about six years ago and has spread to most capital cities and a growing number of regional areas, with more than 1500 volunteers overall.

The Albury-Wodonga branch is in its fourth year, led by co-ordinator Luarna Duncan, Lana McMillan and Carrie Kirby.

Miss Duncan said the parents always appreciated receiving a special cake for a child’s birthday or other occasion.

“Especially when families are in a stressful situation, that’s the least thing they want to organise and they do want to celebrate those milestones,” she said.

“So having a cake delivered has been nice, just a really small gesture to say someone’s here for you and the community can help out.”

Sometimes the volunteers meet the young recipients, sometimes they don’t, which makes the Special Children’s Christmas Party a definite highlight for the group.

“Actually meeting the children and meeting the families, it’s just lots of fun,” Miss Duncan said.

Long queues formed next to the Cake Angels stall in Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre last weekend during the annual party.

About 2500 cakes, biscuits, jellies and gingerbread men sporting a red and white theme sat invitingly on the long table. Less than an hour into the event, the volunteers were already replenishing the original display.

“We find it really hard to keep up actually but every year we have enough and I’m sure we’ll be the same this year,” Miss Duncan said.

Local volunteers and businesses “just provide anything we ask, year after year”.

Cake Angels president Kellie Arney said the group worked with agencies like Ronald McDonald House, Heartkids, Starlight Wish, Make A Wish, CanTeen and the Leukaemia Foundation.

“We are wherever the sick kids are,” she said. “We generally try and wait until the child’s treatment’s finished because otherwise they can’t really enjoy their cake.”

Ms Arney said the demand varied, but cake makers could usually be found when needed.

“A lot of the volunteers come back to me and thank me for allowing them to help someone,” she said.