The Faithful Little Cupcake Lady Goes to Cleveland to Feed the Homeless

Oh, where to even start about this surreal day I spent with my friend on her birthday?!
My friend Rayonna owns The Faithful Little Cupcake in Orrville and also has shops in Wooster and other surrounding towns. She has built herself a successful cupcake store with a mission to help local children in need.

She has also been a great friend and business mentor to me, so when she asked me to celebrate her birthday with her, I was honored. All she wanted to do on her special day was meet the person who lives in the smallest house in Orrville, and pass out her famous cupcakes to people in Cleveland who are homeless.

First, we boxed more than 200 cupcakes in individual containers.

I admired how she opened the showcase at her store and just kept pulling out more and more cupcakes for us to distribute. She grew quiet and a bit emotional at times as she told us how she had wanted to go on an overseas mission trip for her 44th birthday celebration, but when that didn't work out, she felt the Lord nudging her for the mission she was planning, one that would take us only an hour from home.

Two of her daughters went along for the ride, too.

Six of us headed out of town with the intention of fulfilling her first birthday wish.

Rayonna has been curious about this little house for years. It sits at the end of the street and measures only 12 x 16 feet.

Connie was the brave one who jumped out of the van as soon as we stopped and went knocking on the front door as the rest of us looked on.

A guy came to the door and greeted her.

Thankfully, Dave gave us a warm welcome. He shared with us how he started living there and told us about his 12-gallon hot water heater that makes for quick showers.

As I looked down and saw his boots by the front door, I decided Dave must be a hard worker.

I have a feeling Dave and Rayonna might be friends for life.

Next, we headed out to the city of Cleveland in a van filled with hope and cupcakes.

We made a quick stop at Edgewater Park to take a walk by the water.

I loved seeing how Rayonna and her girls enjoyed each other.

Some of us were braver than others.

Little did we know we'd get caught a good distance from our car with no umbrellas in a downpour.
We were soaked, but we were ready to complete the main mission of the day.

We met this lady at a light and she couldn't believe she didn't have to pay for the cupcake.
I told her she had beautiful eyes, and we were off.

As we passed this mural of helping hands, we marveled at the beauty of it. We didn't know it at the time, but it would be where we'd complete our mission later.

We had a hard time finding the homeless on the streets since it was rainy out. We stopped by a McDonald's to use the restroom, and while I was waiting for the others, I stood close to these two guys. One asked what I was up to that day. Of course I was happy to share with them what the plan was. He decided to help us, and while we were met with a few dead ends, we were eventually led to the right place.

It started when the guy on the left jumped onto his bike. You can imagine him zipping down the streets on his bike with us trying to follow along.

He took us to this church that feeds the homeless.
We got to meet the pastor and the helpers, but, unfortunately everyone had left an hour before.

As I glanced over at this vacant factory next door, I was wondered what it looked like on the inside.
I was also beginning to wonder if God had other plans for our day since we were having such a hard time finding homeless people to give our delicious treats to.
I started praying that God would lead us where we were needed and that my friend would be blessed on her birthday.

We stopped to give this guy in a wheelchair a treat.

Then, when we met this sweet security guard in a parking lot, our day really was blessed abundantly.
He lead us to what we had anticipated all day.

Security led us into this homeless shelter, and the men lined up for the treat we had to offer.

It was such a delight to step back and watch both Rayonna's and the receivers' facial expressions as this birthday wish took place.

Rayonna's daughters enjoyed these moments as much as their mother and her friends did.

We heard comments that these were the best cupcakes the men had ever eaten.

Soon, they were back for a second, third, or, for some, a fourth.

It's hard to describe the moment when your heart is so instantly filled with gratitude by how blessed you are with the life you have.

I tried to simply enjoy the moment as I joked around and also had some deep talks with a couple of the guys. Here, Rayonna and I are taking a selfie with a man who told me he just walks away from the drama. This was after I witnessed him getting into a confrontation with another man over who would get the last banana cupcake! Ha!

Connie and the birthday girl had a good long chat with these interesting men sitting on this bench.
They later told me that one of them had hit their boss over the head with a sledgehammer, yet we were never afraid of these people who blessed our day.

I met a sweet woman who I had a neat encounter with.
All day, people kept asking us what church we were from, and we told them we weren't from a church, that we were from a cupcake company. That alone seemed to open doors. I'd be so excited to go back and love on them some more since they welcomed us like they did.

I saw so many beautiful individuals, and I would love to hear their stories.

Next, we were off to find another facility that the director from the first place had lead us to.

After some silent prayers and a couple of miracles, they lead us to an elevator. That elevator took us up to the place where we once again soaked up the smiles and gratitude of the many men coming down the halls for cupcakes.

The word spread pretty fast about our treats. Thankfully, we had enough for everyone.

The guy in the orange shirt was such a gem. He was waiting to eat his cupcake until it was the right moment, when he was sitting in his chair to relax that evening.

As we were putting the finishing touches on Rayonna's birthday wish, she received the icing on the cupcake--hugs from these grateful guys.

They serenaded her with a birthday song.

We only had a couple of cupcakes left, so we gave them to this cute kid on the streets. He balanced them and delivered them to his family. He handled those cupcakes like they were gold.

This guy was our connection for the prize. It's that way in life sometimes. We need to have interaction with the connectors who lead us to the goal. 
I'm still feeling a little awestruck by what the Lord has done in my life, and that I'm privileged to have so many different friends from so many different walks of life.
God is good! It used to annoy me when people said that, thinking they just say it to make themselves look better. Now I get that they meant what they said.

Count your many blessings!
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