SCRIPPS RANCH NEWSLETTER SPOTLIGHT JULY 2012
Like many kitchens, Molly Boarman's functions as the center of family life where happy and delicious memories are born. But her kitchen is magical, producing labors of love that not only warm the hearts of those who live there but extend beyond Scripps Ranch to make others feel special.
Molly's kitchen is home to vampires, superheroes, sports figures, lots of princesses, and animals. They appear as decorations on cakes she lovingly makes for foster children and other kids in need. It's a family affair: 7-year-old Charlie reads recipes out loud, and 8-year-old Tommy serves as a consultant on themes and characters. Dad John joins the team as a taster and helps with deliveries.
The Boarmans, looking for a family-oriented community and a place where they could meet other families like themselves, moved to Scripps Ranch in 2009. It was a perfect fit! Molly would be able to walk her children to school, and they would finally have a big yard in which to play.
Molly had worked as a speech pathologist in the Sweetwater Union School District for 18 years before embarking on her new "career." Wanting to give something back to the community, she got a Handler's Certificate from the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health and subsequently worked on pastries and desserts alongside professional chefs.
She had heard about an organization that baked cakes for needy children but found there was nothing like that in San Diego. When she broached the concept locally, social agencies and case managers provided the names of those who would appreciate the special attention.
Molly started out at two to three cakes a month but is now up to 10 to 12. So far, she has covered the costs, keeping them reasonable by buying in bulk and on sale. She delivers cakes in cake domes or cake boxes--perhaps slightly damaged--she coaxes out of local grocery stores. Since the cakes are given as a donation, Molly has the freedom to be adventurous, entering the world of fondant, an icing-like substance that can be molded to create almost anything on a cake.
The most popular flavors are chocolate, marble, yellow, cheesecake, and carrot. She prides herself on making everything edible, including the decorations. The Boarman family taste-tested four carrot cakes from different recipes before voting on the one Molly will use in the future.
She also wants them to be personal. Requests come through social workers at community partners of the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency such as South Bay Community Services, San Diego Youth Services, or the Center for Positive Changes. Each child picks out the theme or character he or she wants. Molly never meets the recipients, though she has received nice notes and pictures from them.
She never turns down a request, even when she's out of town on vacation. For those occasions she calls in a favor from a friend. Flowers, caterpillars, Alice in Wonderland, and boxing gloves are second nature to her now, but sometimes she is stymied by a request, like the one asking for "black vanilla frosting." And sometimes there is an "emergency cake," one ordered on short notice. She can usually meet every challenge.
She can't accept monetary donations, but she is able to take gift cards for grocery stores and craft shops. Admiring friends help by collecting discount coupons and letting her know when there's a sale on items such as eggs or cake mixes.
Molly makes sure her children understand the true meaning of the cake venture, explaining that not all children enjoy the things Scripps Ranch children do. She has taken Charlie and Tommy down to a homeless shelter to show what life is like for less fortunate children. Of course, guarding their privacy, no one was at the shelter when they went to visit.
Molly's family loves living in Scripps Ranch. "We couldn't be happier," she exclaims. Dingeman Elementary School is glad to have her too. She's on the school's Baking Committee.