Saturday, March 29, 2014

Middletown Monthly Magazine April 2014

Middletown Monthly Magazine

Hi Friends,
Some of you have asked me about the Middletown Monthly article I wrote.  This is the article.  The pictures we took of the magazine came out too blurry to really read it.  Thanks for your support of me and Livvy!  We have been praying that our articles will inspire others to do their 1% and that they will want to go to church if they don't already go.  We have been praying this for over a month as we waited for the articles to come out.

Here is mine (they renamed it Siblings Share a Dream) and I will also put up Livvy's.  Hers was pretty fun for her because she got to interview Katie, the girl that inspired donations for the hospital project by giving up her Christmas presents last year.

Good Neighbors and a Few Crumbs of Cake     By Gabriel Feinn 
In October of 2013, my 9-year-old sister and I started on an adventure that has given us a new view of who our neighbors are.  It all started with a magazine coming to our house that had items such as fruit trees, cattle, schools, hospital supplies, water purifiers and a hospital, just to name a few of the items which we could get for people in poverty stricken countries.  When my sister, Livvy and I saw the chickens for $14.00, we decided that this was a great project for us to get.  We sold cupcakes at our local neighborhood garage sale and easily raised the $14.00.  From there we decided to move up and go for a goat for $70.00.  After we raised this money by asking our cousins to donate, we decided to try for the medical supplies, which would have been $150.  When we thought about this, we decided that we would definitely be able to raise the $150 and since we could do it, this meant we wouldn’t really need any faith to do it.  At that point, we considered trying to raise $10,000 for a water purifier or $35,000 to build a hospital instead so that we would need faith that God would help us.  After talking to a couple of our friends, we decided to trust God to help us raise the $35,000 for hospital. 

Our plan to get the funds was simple.  At first, I started to make cakes for anyone that would donate to the project.  Although I am 13 years old, one of my alter-egos is “Gabe The Cake Man”, so I put up a notice on my Facebook page about the project and some of my neighbors started to donate.  I even made a gluten-free cake for a special neighbor.  Right from the very beginning we have also been making a LOT of cakes!  At Thanksgiving time we needed everyone in the family to help us because we made 165 cupcakes, most of them decorated with hand-formed chocolate turkeys and acorns, and 8 full size special cakes!  My mom had to go buy confectionery sugar almost every other day!

As our project started to take shape, Livvy and I came to think that if just 100 people would be on our “Number One Team”, which meant they would try to donate $350, (which is just having them ask 35 of their friends to give $10 or 10 of their friends to give $35), we would have the money in no time at all.  Also at this same time, we were realizing that I couldn’t possibly make 3000 cakes to get the money for the hospital; so we began to hold fundraisers at places like Chick-Fil-A, make Youtube videos to get the word out about the Number One Team and we went to churches to talk to other children about how they could help us. 

As we went to various places to talk about our project, we started to tell people that they could really make a difference by doing just 1%!  When we spoke to a group of children that were only 3 years old to 5th grade, I pointed out that their 1% might be things like doing dishes for their grandmother or washing her windows or raking her leaves.  That group of little guys raised $150!

Another group that we presented our project to were middle school students at my church and one of them came up and gave us all he had in his pocket, which was just a quarter!   Another dad and his children shoveled snow for the people in his neighborhood and then donated what they had been paid for their shoveling to the hospital project. 

Even though many of these people do not live in my neighborhood, they are being good neighbors to the people that will be helped by this hospital, despite the fact that it will be built in the Congo of Africa.  There is a story in the Bible where a lawyer came to Jesus and wanted to know who his neighbor is.  Jesus then told the man a story about someone that got beat up by some robbers and was left to die.  First, a priest came by and though he saw the man lying in the gutter, he went to the opposite side of the street to avoid getting close to the injured man.  Second, another religious person came by and did the same exact thing.  The third person was a stranger from out of town.  In fact, he was someone that would not usually associate with people like the guy that got beat up.  But instead of acting like the first two people, he went right over to the injured man and bandaged up his wounds and poured some oil on them and then took him on his donkey to the nearest inn, which in those days was like a hospital.  This guy that helped the beaten man out is known as “The Good Samaritan.”  Just like in the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, these people that have been helping Livvy and me are showing kindness to people by their acts of love.  For most of the people that have been helping us, the amount of money they have given is not really the point.  The point is that they have done SOMETHING.  Jesus said that we are neighbors when we show mercy to others. 
There are quite a few people that have been showing compassion to others because of our project.  Some of them live in places as far away as Wisconsin and California.  But some of the people live right here in our own neighborhood. 

When Livvy and I started the project we were not trying to inspire others.  We simply wanted to do something big for God and decided we would use whatever gifts and talents we had, including our hobbies to do this.  That is why we started with making cakes for people who would donate as part of the Number One Team.  However, as we began to talk to groups of students and adults, we realized that being a part of the Number One Team is actually a much bigger assignment, yet it is very simple.  It could mean that you give 1% of your day to someone that really needs it.  This is only 14.4 minutes!  It could mean that you help a boy in your neighborhood who is having a hard time learning to read and has a busy single mom that can’t really help him much by listening to him read; or you could go and weed your neighbor’s garden if they are sick and can’t do it themselves; or maybe it means inviting a lonely widow over to have dinner at your house so you can bring some joy into her life.  See, all these people are neighbors because they need mercy and when you give someone mercy by using your own time or your talents, however that looks, you can make a huge difference!

For Livvy and me, the neighbors we are trying to show mercy to live 6,850 miles away, but they really need our help!  They are in the middle of some crazy fighting and there are some terrible statistics about their lives.  First of all, 20% of all children born there die before the age of 5!  The average life span is only 40 years old and there are only 11 doctors for every 10,000 people!  Hepatitis A, Aides and Malaria are big problems in the Congo, but since there is hardly any healthcare available,  people just die if they get one of these illnesses.  At first it almost seemed like the problems were too big to solve.  However, with help from my neighbors, my sister and I are making progress towards doing something about them.  I like what Dr. Seuss says:  “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”   
When we first started the project, we chose a verse that says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  (1 Timothy 4:12).  My sister and I may be really young, and our 1% may be just a few crumbs of cake, but our hope is that as people see our faith in a big God that we love, and what we are doing to try to make difference, they will want to do their 1% also, so together as neighbors, we can help those that need a neighbor’s mercy from across the continent or across the street so that someone else’s life is made a lot better. 

If you would like to read more about our adventure with this project, visit my blog:  or like my page on facebook:  Gabe The Cake Man.

Here is Livvy's article.  You can find it on page 17 of the Middletown Monthly.

Kids Can Do Big Things Too!                       By Livvy Feinn

     As you may have already read, my brother Gabe and I are raising money to build a hospital in the Congo of Africa.  Even though this started as our idea, we have had some really great kids decide to help us.  For example, two little boys named Eli and Mason who are 4 and 3 years old, made cookies to sell at Christmas time so that they could get money for our hospital project.  This was pretty hard for them because they really wanted to just eat the cookies.  If you want to read the funny story about that, you can visit my brother’s blog because we wrote about it. (

     Another awesome person is Katie, who is 12.  Katie asked all of her family and friends to not give her any Christmas presents this year, but instead to donate the money that they would have used on her Christmas presents to our hospital project!  When I asked Katie why she did this, she said that when she heard about our project at church, she prayed about it and felt like God was telling her to help us.  She hopes that what she did will really help the children and adults in the Congo of Africa learn about God and to feel better from whatever sickness they have.  Katie is a good role model because she stepped up to the project and by her example she shows children and even adults how to be a follower of Jesus and also how to get involved.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wonderful God-Gifts Along The Way

Hi Readers,
This is Gabe's Mom writing today.  I asked Gabe to let me write to you and tell you a little history on my favorite cake-maker (Gabe The Cake Man).  He kindly agreed.  You see, as I was looking through the pictures of Gabe's cake-making progress tonight for a project that Gabe is working on, all of a sudden I realized something amazing...GOD IS GROWING GABE!  I know, that is not earth shattering, but when I saw pictures of him in his earliest cake making days and then fast forwarded to what he got to do today, I was blown away.  Here, I'll show you.
This was Gabe the day he "won" a contest in cake decorating.  He had completed one cake decorating class and he made this cake (buttercream frosting made to look like grass with a pile of fall leaves).  He was pretty proud of himself for winning first place, as he was the only boy in the class and was the youngest student in the class (he was only 10 at the time).  Never did we dream that God was growing a hobby that would become a vehicle for him to do something really big with God (and Livvy)!

The next picture I'll show you is of him at Christmas time in 2012.  We gave our company party at Sullivan University's Culinary school.  (This is a very fun party to do with your company, by the way!)  Gabe was fit to be tied to think that he was not invited, so Ben pulled a few strings and Gabe and Livvy got to go.  That was the day he met Chef Dodd (the administrator of Sullivan's Culinary School).  Little did we know that God was giving Gabe a resource to help him with his big project!  Gabe and Chef Dodd hit it off right away.  Gabe had brought his book of cakes to show the chef.  I'm so glad that God didn't let us know who Chef Dodd was ahead of time or we would have been too intimidated to let him bring the book to show the Chef the cakes.  Chef Dodd was so kind hearted and looked at all the cakes in Gabe's portfolio.  He then asked Gabe if he would like to see the cakes he had made.  As it turned out, the cake he showed us was of Princess Ann's wedding cake (Chef Dodd used to be the baker for the Queen of England!)  Here's a picture of Gabe's first meeting with the chef:

Fast forward to October 2013.  Gabe and Livvy got their hands on Gram's Samaritan's Purse catalog and decided to buy some chickens for an underprivileged family in a third world country.  Their tithe jars didn't have the $14 they needed so they made cupcakes for our yard sale.  Their cuteness got them about double the needed money, so they decided to move up to the cost of a goat ($70).  When that was quickly achieved, they decided to try to buy medical supplies for $150.  About two days after wanting to raise that, Gabe came to me and said, "Mom, I think that Livvy and I can get the $150.   Since I'm pretty sure we can do it, I think it doesn't take any faith.  We want to do something that requires a lot of faith."  As it turns out, their idea of a project that only GOD could achieve was the $35,000 for a hospital.  My husband and I agreed that only GOD could do that - Gabe had a plan right from the start.  His plan was simple.  We would put up on our facebook walls that he would make a cake for anyone that would donate.  

Fast forward to today.  He and Livvy are only $165 away from hitting $10,000 for the hospital.  So far they have made about 40 cakes and several hundred cupcakes for so many people.  They don't get anything for their efforts other than the joy of watching their fundraising page that Samaritan's Purse made for them show an incline in donations; yet they are so excited to see what God is doing!  A desire of Gabe's heart since his sister got engaged in January has been to make her wedding cake.   

Recently we met with Chef Dodd and two wonderful chefs that work at The Bakery.  Chef Dodd has kindly assigned these two wonderful women to work with Gabe at The Bakery to make Abbey's wedding cake!  They are going to teach him how to stencil on a cake and how to make his own Royal Icing.  Gabe is almost delirious with anticipation of being able to use some of the tools and equipment at Sullivan.  It is amazing how God has not only been blessing the efforts of Gabe & Livvy in their fundraising efforts for HIS project, but here He is, giving Gabe the desire of his heart and is letting Gabe work with professional chefs to use his hobby/talent to make the cake for his sister's wedding!  I think this proves a mantra I have.  I often say, "When we make God's thing our thing, He is pleased to make our thing HIS thing!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cakes For Some Awesome Number One Team Members

Today was a super nerve racking yet fun day for me and Livvy!  Today at church we gave two cakes to Number One Team Members.  First, we gave a cake to Katie, who raised $415 by asking her family and friends to donate what they would have spent on her for Christmas!  Katie is only 12 and she went without any Christmas presents this past Christmas so she could raise money for the hospital in the Congo!
Here we are with Katie after we gave her the cake!

The next cake we gave away was to my Lift Group.  At our church we have small groups that talk about the lessons, and my group decided to be Number One Team Members together.  They raised $400 to give to the hospital building project so I made them a cake too!  Here we are after I gave them the cake.

I am going to put up a little video later of what I said when I gave them the cakes.  I am hoping that the other middle school students will decide to step up and do their 1% for God.  Livvy and I are at 28% right now.  In fact, if we just got $210 we will have raised $10,000!  Thanks, everyone for all your help and support!  Keep up the donations!  We are getting more excited about this hospital all the time!