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Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
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Westchase student collects cake mixes for homeless

TAMPA - Matthew Griffith is not a professional cook.
He is a second-grader at Westchase Elementary School who was standing on his porch one day when he noticed some homeless people. It was lunch time and he got to thinking.
“What do homeless people get during the holiday?’’
He decided to find out, so he talked to his mother. She told him that a lot of homeless people never get to celebrate their birthdays or holidays. They are alone and, to them, it’s just another day.
Matthew started to think about the homeless and took things into his own hands.
“I was wondering what kids get when it is their birthday,’’ Matthew said. “They need to have a reason to celebrate and they don’t have one. So I wanted to do something.’’
Matthew said he went to his parents and said he wanted to do something. At first, he wanted to find a way to donate money, but then he decided that helping them have nice holidays was just as important.
That’s when Facebook came in. Matthew and his mom, Barbara, posted the idea of making birthday cakes for the homeless on Facebook, and the idea went viral. Boxes of cake mix poured in from Michigan and Texas, and even as far away as California when a Girl Scout troop contributed. Westchase Elementary now has a box in the lobby for people who want to contribute cake mixes, as does the Primrose School of Westchase, where his sister attends.
The cake mixes – Matthew has collected 142 so far – go to the Hope Children’s Home in Tampa where they are baked and given to the homeless on their birthday. They have the materials there to bake the cakes, Matthew said.
Matthew said he isn’t going to stop working to make the homeless happy.
“They don’t have what I have so I want to help,’’ Matthew said. “I am very lucky to have what I have and it’s too bad not everybody has it. If a birthday cake makes them happy, that makes me feel happy. I want to do more.’’
When asked if he knew how to make a cake, he grinned and said he still wants to learn.
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