Second annual Red Wagon Ministry event held at Jim Barnett Park
By Candace Sipos -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- On Jody Stephenson's 40th anniversary with her husband, Rick, she wasn't at their favorite restaurant or renewing their vows. Instead, she was heading up the second annual Red Wagon Ministry Cupcake Challenge, which sold out at 175 people.
The event, held Saturday at Jim Barnett Park's Social Hall, gave local bakers a chance to show off their talents and contribute to a cause -- the ministry Stephenson started in 2008 simply because she felt a calling.
"I felt like the Lord was leading me to do something more," she said.
It wasn't until after she started the Red Wagon Ministry that she realized so many parents aren't able to buy all the disposable diapers they need for their children, especially because they aren't covered by SNAP or WIC programs.
Every month, with the help of the Congregational Community Action Project of Winchester, the team receives about 5,000 donated diapers. Charity organizers are in the planning stages of starting a program for seniors on fixed incomes who need adult diapers, Stephenson said.
Eleven vendors showed up at Saturday's event, where attendees could try five cupcakes for $10, or six cupcakes if they purchased tickets before Feb. 25, she said.
"This year they came with appetites," Stephenson said, noting that she wasn't expecting people to eat so many of the cupcakes at the event. Last year she said she saw more filled boxes heading home.
The cupcakes are entered into various contests, including the three main categories of the evening - Down in the Barnyard, All Around the Garden and Sugar and Spice - which fell in line with this year's theme, Nursery Rhymes.
All the cupcakes and time spent making them is donated by people such as Megan Crosson, 15. Crosson, who said she's been baking for three years, has a small bakery business called Sugar & Spice and Everything Iced out of her home.
"I finally found my spot in the cupcake industry," she said, noting that in addition to showing off her culinary style, she "also wanted to support this wonderful charity."
In fact, Crosson donated a huge package of diapers to the ministry, Stephenson said.
Some other young bakers included three sisters: Summer Lent, 11, Ashley Kennedy, 10, and Kaley Kennedy, 5.
The sisters did about 90 percent of the work making 93 cupcakes for the event, which took about eight hours, according to their grandmother, Tammy Kennedy.
"I like to help out little kids," said Ashley Kennedy, who added that she might want to be a baker when she grows up. "Sometimes I make dinner for the family."
She's already hoping to participate in next year's event.