Heather Goodine drove slowly through a Fort Hood housing division as a pink cake decorated with butterflies sat in the passenger seat.
“I’m glad you didn’t put sprinkles on it,” said Jessica Barker. “My daughter’s autistic and she doesn’t like sprinkles.”
Goodine, a volunteer with Free Cakes for Kids Fort Hood, made her third cake for the nonprofit and dropped it off at Jade Barker’s home Aug. 17, the day before her fourth birthday.
Goodine, a military wife, was hesitant when she started volunteering for the nonprofit, which supports veteran and active-duty Fort Hood families who need financial help during birthdays.
The group provides free cakes, cookie cakes and cupcakes during military children’s birthdays.
“I can do it, it’s just doing it for other people makes me kind of nervous,” Goodine said. “You want to make sure they get something they want. It’s great seeing their faces (when they see the cake). They’re so excited.”
Teresa Grace founded Free Cakes for Kids Fort Hood in August 2012 and it officially launched in January.
“We’ve been rockin’ and rollin’ since then,” Grace said.
They currently have 51 volunteers and completed about 450 of 530 requests they’ve received.
After Jade was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, Barker’s family moved from her husband’s duty station in Germany to the U.S. on a compassionate reassignment.
Overseas, Barker said they weren’t as financially strained because she got a cost of living allowance.
After being at Fort Hood for six months, her family has been struggling.
“I was expecting groceries here to be cheaper,” said Barker, who is looking for a job. “It means a lot, a whole lot because without (them) we probably could buy a few presents, but we probably wouldn’t have a cake.”