Tanya Huggins is a compassionate soul. Community engagement and charitable giving are the hallmarks of her company, Bella Cakes Niagara. When Tanya was starting out and money was tight, all she had to give was here time.
She knew what she wanted to offer and to whom, so she reached out to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and told them of her idea.
Sick Kids was all for it. They were caring for a girl, Sarah who was undergoing treatment on her 16th birthday. At the time, Sarah was really into the Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro and had become pretty handy decorating her own cakes for family and friends.
What a surprise it must have been then, when Tanya and staff walk in with their chef coats and ingredients and the decorating tools that were to be made a gift of when they were done. Decorating Sarah’s 16th Birthday Cake was a very sweet affair.
“I love children,” says Tanya, “and that is the best organization to go to.”
Tanya makes the trip to the University Avenue facility to spend a couple hours each holiday, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas. Her arrival in Marnie’s Lounge is very well received. For these kids, struggling with treatments and being away from home, their time is made a little brighter when decorating sugar cookies and gingerbread figures.
Staff at Bella Cakes Fort Erie, Debbie, Chantelle and Summer, have turned their tip jar into a donation box, donating all their tips to the Hospital. Customers, who hear about Tanya’s trucking to Toronto, are throwing in 10’s and 20’s and local businesses owners Jennyfer Marie from Spicy Olive and restaurateur, Tony Visca from Johnny Roccos made generous donations to the hospital as well.
“Kids have a positive energy. I think going there is more rewarding for me actually”, says Tanya, “they make you appreciate your own life.”