Cake is easily the hallmark of any birthday, the dressed-up delight being perfect for capturing the excitement of growing one year wiser. Not only is blowing out the candles and secretly making a wish a joy at any age, but as clients of the Ruskin Senior Center will tell you, it is a vital tradition.
On the first Friday of every month, the Ruskin Senior Center hosts a birthday party and provides a cake to celebrate all members whose birthday is in that given month. While the center has previously relied on alternative suppliers in the past, recent changes prompted Elizabeth Barr, senior supervisor for the Ruskin Senior Center with Hillsborough County Aging Services, to reach out to the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce for help. After speaking with Barr at an Elder/Senior Outreach Committee meeting hosted by the chamber on February 21, Melanie Davis, SouthShore Chamber of Commerce executive director, was only too happy to oblige.
After Davis issued a request on February 22 for all interested chamber members to order and provide a cake for each monthly party, within the same day, all remaining 2023 months were sponsored by these local businesses. In fact, this feat was accomplished in about one hour.
“Our chamber members are always extremely generous, and I really think that they’re just waiting for ideas on how to enhance the community and how to support the needs of the community,” said Davis. “Any time we put out a request like that, they just jump right on it. It’s incredible.”
On March 3, the first birthday party serving a cake provided by a SouthShore Chamber member was held after the clients had been served lunch, around 12:30 p.m. This cake, sponsored by Khalid Abu of Pita Kebob, was both chocolate and vanilla-flavored, with white icing and frosted orange roses adorning the treat.
Additional chamber members sponsoring cakes this year include Debbie Caneen, Sun Towers; Roberta Chaplain, Campaign Against Human Trafficking; Melissa Hartman, Osprey Observer; Sydney Ladner, Gabro Event Services; Minday Laing, C&S Fasteners; Rodney Ward, Claims Appraisal and Remediation Services; Sherry Webb, Green Compass Global; Wendy Yeo, Suncoast Credit Union; and Wellspring Church.
As the chamber has previously assisted the center with other efforts, such as providing both Thanksgiving and Christmas meals at no charge to the senior clients in 2022, Barr is grateful for another show of community support.
“We are so extremely appreciative of the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce and all the area businesses who are willing and able to support our senior adults in the community,” said Barr.
For more information on the Ruskin Senior Center, please call 813-672-1107 or visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/locations/ruskin-senior-center. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and is located at 905 6th St. SE in Ruskin.
More information on the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce can be found by calling 813-645-1366 or visiting www.southshorechamberofcommerce.org. The chamber is open from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and is located at 201 W. Shell Point Rd. in Ruskin.